Monday , November 11, 2019

NACHA’s New Boss Has Card, Merchant Acquiring Background

Janet O. Estep, who will succeed Elliott C. McEntee at the end of the year as president and chief executive of NACHA, will be the first person to head the Herndon, Va.-based payments organization who has a background in cards and merchant acquiring. Estep, whose appointment was announced on Tuesday, comes to NACHA from U.S Bank, where she was an executive vice president and ran the bank's processing operation for ATMs and PIN and signature debit. Estep stresses her career experience, which includes a stint running the bank's merchant-acquiring unit, as especially helpful in her new role at the top of the non-profit rules-setting body for the automated clearing house network. She says that experience required her to understand various electronic payment methods and find ways to market them to the bank's clients. “It helps any organization to have persons of diverse backgrounds,” she tells Digital Transactions News. “When I managed merchant payment back in the late '90s, our merchant-acquiring unit was one of the first to offer up check electronification [to merchants].” McEntee says he found Estep's card and acquiring background especially appealing. “Jan was selected by our board, but when I saw her background, I said this is an absolutely perfect match for NACHA.” He says many of the risk-management issues Estep wrestled with in acquiring resemble those NACHA has confronted lately administering the ACH. NACHA has pursued an ambitious risk-management program over the past year in an effort to reduce unauthorized returns in the ACH network. While not outlining any particular direction she may take, Estep says fighting fraud will be a high priority. “It's more important than ever that consumers and financial institutions feel confident in the network that helps them pass transactions,” she says. Similarly, though NACHA has introduced several e-check applications and is now piloting one that allows consumers to pay e-commerce sites through their online-banking programs, Estep says she's not prepared to give any indications of how, or whether, these programs might change under her administration. “There are none that I have as my pet projects at this time,” she says. “My perspective is to keep the blinders pretty wide open.” Estep, who was with IBM Corp. for 15 years before coming to U.S. Bank in 1997, will serve as president and chief operating officer at NACHA until year's end, then take on the chief executive title upon the retirement of McEntee, who has been at NACHA since 1988.

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