HERNDON, Va., April 24 -- Nacha-The Electronic Payments Association will award its 2006 Kevin O'Brien ACH Quality Award to Parish National Bank of Covington, Louisiana, in recognition of its disaster and business continuity planning and its remarkable efforts to provide its customers with automated clearing house (ACH) payment services in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The award will be accepted by Joe Omner, Chief Operating Officer of Parish National Bank, on May 8, 2006 at Nacha's 2006 PAYMENTS Conference in San Diego.
"Parish National Bank is an outstanding example of the many banks and credit unions in the Gulf Coast region that made heroic efforts to restore banking and financial services to consumers and businesses after the storm," said Elliott C. McEntee, President and CEO of Nacha. "Providing customers with access to funds, including through the restoration of ACH payment processing, was critical for residents and businesses affected by the storm."
Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, resulting in widespread communication and electrical outages that disrupted banking services.
"The timing couldn't have been worse," explained Omner. "The storm hit just three days before the end of the month, when our corporate customers use ACH transfers to get payroll out. Getting these funds out became a top priority."
Equipped with a portable generator and a satellite phone, the bank's operations center became home to several bank employees and their families. Cash management manager Angela Hood went door-to-door to the bank's corporate customers, collecting disks loaded with ACH files; other corporate customers brought laptops with ACH files to the operations center. Hood hand-delivered these ACH files to its correspondent bank in Baton Rouge, where just 48 hours after the storm, Parish began restoring its ACH transaction processing.
"It helped that we had so many of our corporate customers making full use of Direct Deposit for their payrolls," said Hood. "When our ACH transaction processing was restored, these businesses met their payroll obligations, and their employees got paid."
Omner credits elements of Parish's disaster preparedness plans and its employees for their success. "The immediate implementation of processes outlined in Parish National's disaster recovery plan allowed for the continued integrity of the ACH Network," says Omner. "Parish National Bank is proud that our employees are being nationally recognized for the services we provided to our customers."
The Kevin O'Brien ACH Quality Award, named after the late Kevin O'Brien, Nacha's Chairman in 1999-2000, is presented annually to an organization to recognize best practices in ACH participants' efforts to maintain and improve the quality of ACH services and the integrity and reliability of the ACH Network.
The ACH Network is a national electronic payments system used by the nation's 20,000 financial institutions and an estimated 6 million businesses and 145 million Americans. ACH payments include Direct Deposit of payroll, Social Security benefits and tax refunds, Direct Payment of consumer bills, e- checks, business-to-business payments, and Federal tax payments.
About Nacha - The Electronic Payments Association
Nacha is the leading organization in developing electronic solutions to improve the payments system. Nacha represents more than 11,000 financial institutions through direct memberships and a network of regional payments associations, and 650 organizations through its industry councils. Nacha develops operating rules and business practices for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network and for electronic payments in the areas of Internet commerce, electronic bill and invoice presentment and payment (EBPP, EIPP), e- checks, financial electronic data interchange (EDI), international payments, and electronic benefits transfer (EBT). Visit Nacha on the Internet at http://www.nacha.org.
About Parish National Bank
Parish National is a community bank with $800 million in assets, operating offices throughout Jefferson, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. In addition to traditional community banking, PNB offers mortgage lending, trust services and estate planning, a full line of insurance options and investment advice. Additional information is available at http://www.parishnational.com.