Spectrum EBP, based in New York, has created an impressive roster of member banks to its electronic bill payment and presentment infrastructure. Jointly owned by J.P. Morgan Chase, Wachovia and Wells Fargo, the company most recently added Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank as members. Also, Citibank, Fleet, First Tennessee, Hibernia, M&I Bank, Provident Bank and Union Bank of California have signed letters of intent to join the network.
John Perry, Chairman and CEO of Spectrum EBP, spoke about the latest company news with senior associate editor Ivan Schneider.
BS&T: What does it mean for Spectrum to get Citibank as a client?
PERRY: For us, it was one of our key strategies that we've executed on this year, which was to bring on large financial institutions that have significant consumer bases as well as internal bill statements that could go into the switch. What's also significant for us is that these financial institutions are top ten banks and have very strong brand awareness.
The Citibank relationship is, however, at this point specifically with the corporate side of the bank. Citibank, or any of the financial institutions that signed a BSP biller service provider agreement with us, has the ability to flow bill statements into the switch through their BSP. They're also getting large corporate customers, be it large telcos or utilities, that they could sponsor into the network to get their bills' content into the switch.
BS&T: What kind of efforts do you have for business-to-business payments?
PERRY: At this pont we are 100% focused on the B2C market. So we're not, at this point, marketing services from one biller to another. Down the road, because of the IFX platform, we could leverage those capabilities to look at other markets such as B2B. It's just that from an execution standpoint, today, it has not been a focus.
In B2B, the standards are much less defined, and it's a much more complex type of transaction than what you see on the consumer side.
BS&T: How do you expect Spectrum to coexist with other payments networks?
PERRY: It's natural over time for payment systems to interact. You see that in the different ATM switches and credit cards networks out there. I'm sure over time you'll see that the different EBPP networks will continue to interact, just from the standpoint that it's a very small market that has the potential to grow into a very large market.