NACHA Among Recipients of WesPay Leadership Awards at 2016 Payments Symposium

Posted September 14, 2016

Henderson, NV, Sept. 14, 2016 - Earlier today, WesPay presented four leadership awards at its annual Payments Symposium to individuals and organizations who have supported WesPay’s non-profit mission to advance and best use of electronic payments.

The awards and recipients include: the George E. Lowther Award for Outstanding Payments Industry Service to Cristina Hellems, AAP, Vice President, Senior Product Manager, MUFG Union Bank; the Frank E. Zima Payments Advocacy Award to Jennifer Blevins, AAP, NCP, Vice President, Treasury Management Sales Consultant, Umpqua Bank; the Frank E. Zima Payments Advocacy Award to Melissa Giddens, AAP, NCP, CTP, Vice President, Senior Treasury Management  Officer, Washington Trust Bank; and the A. R. Zipf Award for Payments Systems Innovation to NACHA – The Electronic Payments Organization, accepted by Jane Larimer, Executive Vice President of ACH Network Administration and General Counsel, NACHA.

Jose Lara, Chair of the WesPay Board of Directors, said “this is our opportunity to acknowledge individuals and organizations that embody the values of innovation and service that have come to represent WesPay.” “In particular, Cristina, Jennifer and Melissa are tireless contributors that have improved WesPay through their involvement.” Mr. Lara presented the awards, along with WesPay CEO, William Schoch, during an Awards Luncheon at the annual event.

Cristina Hellems receives the George E. Lowther Award for Outstanding Payments Industry Service
Cristina Hellems, AAP, has been the ACH product manager at MUFG Union in transaction banking since 2009. She has led several ACH system upgrades and supported sales in working with customers and prospects in adopting ACH as a viable payment channel. Prior to joining MUGF Union Bank, Cristina spent over 20 years in the payments arena handling ACH, wires and check processing. She has managed treasury management sales, payment operations, training, regulatory and compliance business units. Currently, she is involved with Same Day ACH. Cristina’s dedication to the payments industry also includes sharing her passion for payments on the WesPay’s board of directors for six years.

Jennifer Blevins and Melissa Giddens receive the Frank E. Zima Award for Payments Advocacy
Jennifer Blevins is a vice president, treasury management sales consultant with Umpqua Bank. She has over 14 years of experience in Treasury Management, including sales, implementation and training. Jennifer graduated from California State University of Sacramento where she received a BA degree in Organizational Communications. Jennifer is an Accredited ACH Professional (AAP), as well as a National Check Professional (NCP).

Jennifer has spoken at NACHA and WesPay conferences about treasury management sales and implementation. She recently became part of WesPay’s Speaker Bureau and is the chair of WesPay’s Member Advisory Council. She volunteers as Entertainment Chair for the annual Northwest Association for Financial Professionals Summit Conference. She was recently inducted into her bank’s President’s Club, an elite group of individuals, selected by fellow President’s Club alumni, to advocate the bank’s strong belief in cultural and community involvement.

Melissa Giddens is a vice president and senior treasury management officer at Washington Trust Bank. Drawing on her 20 years of experience in payments and treasury management, she helps companies develop optimal account structures, implement best practices for streamlining payables and receivables, and mitigate their risk of fraud. As a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP), Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) and a National Check Professional (NCP), Melissa is one of the first individuals in the country to earn all three treasury/payments credentials. She served on the Northwest Association for Financial Professionals board for the past four years and she’s been a volunteer for WesPay’s Member Advisory Council, including immediate past chair, for the past five years. Melissa has an undergraduate degree in Marketing from DeVry University and an MBA in Sustainable Business from Green Mountain College.

NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association receives the A. R. Zipf Award for Payments Systems Innovation
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association supports the growth of the ACH Network by managing its development, administration and governance. Through its leadership and engagement of wide-ranging Network participants, NACHA has helped make the Network both ubiquitous and highly secure. Of particular note is their development and implementation of Same Day ACH, the biggest change to the payments industry in over 40 years. NACHA represents nearly 10,000 financial institutions through 11 regional payments associations and direct memberships.

Accepting the award for NACHA is Jane Larimer NACHA’s Executive Vice President of ACH Network Administration, and General Counsel. Jane has been a frequent speaker at WesPay events and over the years her commitment and passion for payments have always been evident.

About the Awards
The George E. Lowther Award for Outstanding Payments Industry Service is named for the late Wells Fargo executive who was instrumental in working with regional volunteers in the west to adopt the CACHA (now WesPay) model for regional payments associations in support of a unified national Automated Clearing House.

The Frank E. Zima Payments Advocacy Award is named after the late Wells Fargo and Western Payments Alliance executive who, during the course of a 30-year career in the electronic payments industry, effectively advocated for a number of initiatives that had a significant impact on this nation’s electronic payment processes and specifically resulted in the more open, inclusive rule-making process that all ACH Network participants benefit from today.

The A. R. Zipf Award for Payments Systems Innovation is named after the late Al Zipf, the former Bank of America executive credited with creating MICR coding and establishing the modern industry standard enabling billions of checks to be efficiently processed each year.

About the 2016 Payments Symposium
Approximately 250 attendees, sponsors and exhibitors gathered in Henderson, Nevada, September 12-14 to participate in Payments Symposium, the premier payments industry forum for the Western United States. The theme for the 2016 Symposium was “Need for Speed” creatively addressing how companies can be successful in the constantly changing payments world.  WesPay’s 2016 Payments Symposium provided executives the opportunity to learn and interact with industry experts on the latest developments to help shape their thinking. Industry leaders addressed faster payments, Same Day ACH, mobile Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), cross-border payments, bitcoin and blockchain, risk associated with Same Day ACH, RDC, faster/mobile/emerging payments and included a millennials and payments live focus group.

About WesPay
WesPay is a membership-based payments association focused on regulatory compliance, risk management and operational sound practices across various payments channels. We work with over 1,200 member organizations including financial institutions, third-party payment providers and other organizations supplying payments-related services.

WesPay, as a Direct Member of NACHA, is a specially recognized and licensed provider of ACH education, publications and support. Representing the interests of member institutions, WesPay is directly engaged in the NACHA rulemaking process and the Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) Program. Partnered with ECCHO, WesPay is a designated Educational Partner for the National Check Professional (NCP) accreditation program.

WesPay provides timely and critical information related to changes in payments-related rules and regulatory guidance, education and preparation for industry accreditations, audit and advisory services and publication sales. WesPay's member communications keep members informed, and our Payments Hotline and virtual online community provide member support with operational, compliance and risk management challenges.
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