Ken Thompson, chairman and CEO of Wachovia Corp, was named chairman of the board of The Clearing House.
Comprised of chief executives from the nation’s largest banks, the Board oversees the strategy and direction of The Clearing House. Mr. Thompson’s term is one year, although chairmen typically serve two years, the Clearing House said.
“This is a critical time for The Clearing House and the payments industry in general,” said Thompson. “We’re undergoing some fundamental changes as payments migrate from paper to electronic, regulations become more complex and new competitors enter the marketplace.”
The Clearing House is a private-sector, global payment systems infrastructure that clears and settles more than $1.4 trillion per day through its affiliated businesses. It also serves as an industry forum addressing strategic and regulatory issues involving U.S. payments.
Wachovia has long been a leader in the payments industry and in 2000 became the first major financial institution to offer online check images to retail customers. Thompson is renowned for his leadership of the First Union-Wachovia merger, which formed the nation’s fourth-largest financial services company. Even through the integration of those two banks, the company led the financial services industry in customer service, it said. In 2003, Wachovia entered into a joint venture with Prudential’s retail brokerage division to create the third-largest brokerage firm in the U.S.
More than 1,300 U.S. financial institutions and hundreds of international participants take advantage of payment services that span the entire spectrum of paper, paper-to-electronic and electronic payments. Offerings include local and regional check exchange and settlement services; ACH association and operations; large value “wire” payments; electronic check presentment and an image exchange.
Thompson is the 71st leader of The Clearing House Board in its 150-year history. He succeeds Victor Menezes, senior vice chairman of Citigroup, who served two terms. Mr. Menezes will continue to hold a seat on the Board.