NACHA Announces Winners of Inaugural ‘NACHA Challenge’ at PAYMENTS 2016

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United Bank team wins $15,000 Judges’ Choice prize; Royal Credit Union team wins $10,000 Audience Choice prize

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NACHA has a commitment to innovation and inclusiveness. It is in that spirit that we created the NACHA Challenge to invite the marketplace to brainstorm potential ways to remove friction and further improve the ACH end-user experience.

April 21, 2016 – NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association® announced today the winning teams of the NACHA Challenge, a team competition to foster new ways to improve the ACH end-user experience by filling market gaps or removing friction points.

Three finalist teams, competing for up to $25,000 in prize money, presented their proposals at the PAYMENTS 2016 conference, which concluded April 20 in Phoenix, Arizona. More than two dozen teams from corporates, solution providers, financial institutions and other innovators, thinkers and practitioners submitted proposals for consideration.

NACHA Challenge teams were asked to identify a gap or friction point related to the ACH end-user experience, describe the solution or approach to address it, and indicate who will benefit and how.

The Judges’ Choice Award ($15,000)

Presented to:
“Team Curmudgeon” for proposing the creation of a new Standard Entry Class Code to identify securities transactions to allow for faster settlement. The creation of a SST (Securities Settlement Transactions) SEC Code would help differentiate between a securities transaction and a banking transaction by clearly identifying which transactions are exempt from Regulation E and subject to modified dispute management tools under the NACHA Operating Rules. The proposal was submitted by J. Steven Stone, executive vice president, operations, for United Bank in Charleston, West Virginia.

The Audience Choice Award ($10,000)

Presented to:
“Team Real Time Royals” for a proposed real-time application program interface (API) to allow financial institutions and merchants to validate transactions via the ACH Network in real time. An API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. According to the proposal, batch processing would still be available for originators that do not choose to pay for the new service, but real-time ACH processing via an API would potentially provide a competitive edge. The proposal was submitted by team captain Jennifer Brantner, product settlement and services manager, and her colleagues Emily Kurth, Nicole Glodowski, and Erik LeMay, all of Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

“NACHA has a commitment to innovation and inclusiveness. It is in that spirit that we created the NACHA Challenge to invite the marketplace to brainstorm potential ways to remove friction and further improve the ACH end-user experience,” said Scott M. Lang, AAP, senior vice president, Association Services at NACHA.

“We appreciate the strong level of participation from organizations of all sizes and types in this competition,” Lang said. “Teams proposed potential solutions to address a variety of challenges and opportunities. The NACHA Challenge generated a lot of buzz throughout the conference.”

“Team Curmudgeon” was selected by a panel of judges drawn from across the NACHA family of organizations comprising the Payments Innovation Alliance, Direct Membership of NACHA, the Board Advisory Group and the PAYMENTS 2016 Conference Planning Committee. Audience members at the 2016 NACHA Payments System Awards Luncheon, sponsored by TD Bank, N.A., voted “Team Real Time Royals” as the winner of the Audience Choice prize.

PAYMENTS 2016 is the premier educational event for the payments industry. Financial institutions of all types and sizes, solution providers who are changing the market, corporate decision makers and government end-user customer organizations gather annually at the conference to network, learn how to improve their bottom line and increase their competitiveness to move the payments industry forward. Next year’s PAYMENTS conference will be held April 23-26 in Austin, Texas.

NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association
Since 1974, NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association has served as trustee of the ACH Network, managing the development, administration and rules for the payment network that universally connects all 12,000 financial institutions in the U.S. The Network moves money and information directly from one bank account to another. Through its collaborative, self-governing model, education, and inclusive engagement of ACH Network participants, NACHA facilitates the expansion and diversification of electronic payments, supporting Direct Deposit and Direct Payment via ACH transactions, including ACH credit and debit payments, recurring and one-time payments; government, consumer and business transactions; international payments, and payments plus payment-related information. Through NACHA’s expertise and leadership, the ACH Network is now one of the largest, safest, and most reliable systems in the world, creating value and enabling innovation for all participants. Visit for more information.

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Kendra Beasley
NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association
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