April 5, 2017
By Kevin Woodward
Jamie Walker’s growth mission as the newly anointed chief executive at Elavon Inc., the acquiring arm of U.S. Bancorp, is squarely focused on e-commerce and furthering the company’s partnerships. That isn’t to set aside its other distribution channels, such as independent sales organizations or its direct-sales efforts, Walker tells Digital Transactions News.
Walker: “We want to ensure we are capturing our share.”
Walker, a 16-year veteran at the Minneapolis-based banking giant, where he was chief financial officer at Elavon and chief administrative officer for U.S. Bank’s Payment Service division, moved into the CEO role in March.
Walker sees e-commerce and partnerships as two of the best prospects for growing Elavon’s revenue.
“We decided about 10 years ago to double down on e-commerce and mobile commerce,” Walker says. Part of that effort resulted in the development of Converge, formerly called Virtual Merchant, an omnichannel payments platform that enables merchants to manage all of their payments in a single location.
The opportunity for online transaction growth continues to be there. U.S. consumers spent $56.4 billion during the 2016 holiday season, a 12% increase from 2015.
“We want to ensure we are capturing our share,” Walker says. “The opportunity is still significant.”
As for partnerships, Elavon will continue to benefit from its connection to more than 3,000 U.S. Bank branches. In addition to bank personnel referring clients to Elavon’s service, Elavon benefits from the bank’s advocacy within the payments space, Walker says.
Another important sales channel is independent sales organizations. Elavon works with 250 registered merchant-services providers in North America. “We still have a really strong ISO channel,” Walker says. “That was out fastest-growing channel in 2016 from a revenue perspective.”
ISOs, some reacting to and some getting ahead of changes in payments, are adopting new products and services that don’t focus as much on the traditional countertop point-of-sale terminal. Elavon supports ISOs going through this adaptation, as well as ones reliant on traditional sales models, Walker says, adding, “There’s still a lot of space for ISOs.”
As for other partnerships, Walker’s interest turn to international growth. That means looking for more sales in overseas markets Elavon currently offers its services in. “There’s still a lot of upside in Western Europe,” Walker says. Eastern Europe, too, holds potential. Sales doubled last year in Poland, “which is a strong market for us.”
Elavon, too, will use mergers and acquisitions to grow when warranted, he says. It may consider working with new payments entrants, too. “We need to look at them as ‘frenemies,’” Walker says. “We have to ensure whether it’s better to partner or compete head on.”
Elavon also looks to the strength of its presence in some merchant verticals, such as airlines and hospitality, as growth prospects.
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