NACHA Announces 2011 Payments System Awards Recipients

Posted April 5, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas, April 5, 2011 – NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association today announced the recipients of its 2011 Payments System Awards. The winners are being recognized during the Payments Systems Award Luncheon, sponsored by TD Bank, at NACHA’s PAYMENTS 2011 conference.
 
The Payments System Awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their superior leadership, innovation, and excellence in the development, implementation, or advancement of electronic payments. This year’s awards recipients include:

The 2011 Kevin O’Brien ACH Quality Award
Commerce Bank, Kansas City, MO
 
The 2011 NACHA PayItGreen Award
Consumers Energy, Jackson, MI
 
The 2011 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award
Walmart, Bentonville, AR

“The recipients of the 2011 Payments System Excellence Awards are pioneers in advancing the use of electronic payments, and innovators in their use of the ACH Network,” said NACHA President and CEO Jan Estep. “It is because of their efforts and vision that the ACH Network remains one of the most efficient, safest, and greenest payments networks in the world. We are pleased to recognize their outstanding contributions to the industry by honoring them with these distinguished awards.”
 
NACHA celebrates the achievements of these three award winners for outstanding contributions to the industry.
 
The 2011 Kevin O’Brien ACH Quality Award:
Commerce Bank, Kansas City, MO
 
Named in honor of the late Kevin O’Brien, who served as NACHA’s chairperson from 1999-2000, the Kevin O’Brien ACH Quality Award is presented annually to recognize best practices in ACH participants’ efforts to maintain and improve the quality of ACH services and/or the integrity and reliability of the ACH Network.
 
This year’s award honors Commerce Bank for its commitment to ACH quality through its dedication to developing employees to successfully obtain Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) status. Emphasizing the connection between the quality of transactions and the level of staff expertise signified by the AAP credential, Commerce Bank credits its high concentration of AAPs on staff for its minimal to non-existent ACH losses, return rates well below national averages, and a customer satisfaction index of 5.76 on a scale of 6. An $18.5 billion regional bank with fewer than 5,000 employees, Commerce Bank has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to ACH quality with 30 AAPs currently on staff. Commerce Bank, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, ranks fifth among commercial banks in the nation with AAPs on staff, setting it apart given its relative size. Other banks in this group range in size between $79 billion and $1.6 trillion in assets with 10,000 to almost 200,000 employees.
 
The 2011 NACHA PayItGreen Award:
Consumers Energy, Jackson, MI
 
The NACHA PayItGreen Award is presented to recognize individual or organizational leadership, vision, and innovation in the education and promotion of electronic payments, statements, and billing to reduce the impact of paper on the environment.
 
This year’s award honors Consumers Energy, one of the nation’s largest natural gas and electric utilities with 2.9 million customers. Consumers Energy has been on the forefront of eBilling and electronic payments and offerings since the late 1990s. Today, more than 500,000 customers per month receive an eBill, nearly 20 percent of the company’s residential customers. More than a million of the utility’s customers pay electronically each month, and 95 percent of Consumers Energy’s 8,000 employees receive their pay via Direct Deposit. In 2010, Consumers Energy converted its internal lockbox to Accounts Receivable Conversion (ARC) and image capture, and now processes 99 percent of its payments electronically. Formerly, paper enrollment forms were the only option for customers. Today, all enrollments are done electronically.
 
The 2011 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award:
Walmart, Bentonville, AR
 
The George Mitchell Award, named after the late George Mitchell, former vice-chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and early electronic payments proponent, is presented annually to an individual or organization that has shown superior leadership in the development, implementation, or advancement of electronic payments.
 
For work enabling innovative electronic payment initiatives that have removed manual processes, mitigated risks, reduced costs, and advanced sustainability, this year’s award goes to Walmart. Walmart’s electronic payments efforts have spanned all aspects of the company from front-end store and club operations to back-end accounts payable and extend to innovations in prepaid and government payments, as well as check conversion. 
 
Walmart’s commitment to innovation and aggressive promotion of change has made the company a leader in efficient and high-quality use of the ACH Network. Every week, Walmart accepts electronic payments from 140 million U.S. customers through multiple payments channels. Walmart is a leader in check conversion, prepaid and government payments, and employee use of Direct Deposit. Over the past 18 months, Walmart has shifted more than 500,000 associates from paper paychecks to Direct Deposit, removing 13 million paper checks from the system each year. Actively partnering with other industry organizations, Walmart strives for secure, efficient, and cost-effective payments.
 
Award Nomination & Evaluation Process
 
Each January NACHA issues a call for nominations to the broad NACHA family including the RPAs, Direct FI Members, Council and PayItGreen member organizations, and the ACH Operators.
 
The call for nominations is also posted on the NACHA homepage whereby other industry participants are also invited to submit nominations. Parties are requested to include program descriptions, goals, benefits and metrics in the context of the stated purposes of the awards.
 
The nominations and supporting documentation are provided to the Communications and Marketing Advisory Group (CMAG) for review and selection. CMAG is a volunteer group comprised of industry representatives from financial institutions, RPAs, solution providers, the Federal Reserve RPO and corporate users. CMAG members evaluate submissions on their merits for thoroughness, impact and relevance.
 
Contact Scott Lang at slang@nacha.org with questions related to the award nomination and selection process. To learn more about the Payments System Awards, NACHA, or the ACH Network, visit www.nacha.org.

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