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Study: Banks lag with payments strategy

Eighty-seven percent of respondents to the American Bankers Association first-time payments survey indicated that their bank does not have a formal payments strategy. Of these, only 46 percent have plans to develop one.

"While we're concerned that many banks don't have a formal payments strategy in place, we're not entirely surprised," Steve Kenneally, vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy for the ABA, said in a press release. "The point of the survey was to develop a baseline. Now that we know where things stand, we can help identify solutions and get our members to where they need to be."

The survey of more than 200 banks found that responsibility for setting payments strategy varies greatly among institutions. At many banks (35 percent) the chief financial officer or chief operating officer is responsible for setting the payments strategy. Only 7 percent have an enterprise-level payments officer and 14 percent have a payments committee.

Thirty-six percent of respondents characterize their bank's approach to payments strategy as that of a "fast follower," while 54 percent said their bank takes a "wait and see" approach. Only 3 percent consider their bank a "first mover/experimenter."

"The survey results show that community banks have a lot of work to do here," Christopher McClinton, senior vice president for payments and operations at ABA Endorsed Solutions, said in the release. "The good news is ABA offers payments solutions and opportunities to partner with fintechs to help banks keep up with customer expectations."