Payments remain a central, differentiating element in the banking franchise and a primary driver of bank profitability. In 2006, there was much activity around the electronic processing of paper checks and whether check conversion to ACH or check image processing would be dominant in transforming the payments space.
2007 will bring clarity to the topic as convergence becomes a more practical reality, with viable integrated solutions for both electronic check conversion and image processing that convert checks at the earliest possible points in the payments process -- whether at the bank branch, corporate back office or lockbox. Banks will also be able to break through the redundant operational silos across payment types to streamline back-office processes and provide greater efficiency, and cost and time savings.
With corporate customers challenging their financial institutions to provide a more-integrated, end-to-end array of payments origination, information management, clearing and dispute resolution solutions, 2007 will be an exciting time in the U.S. payments industry as new technologies emerge that will change how American banks and corporations view the flow of funds.