BANK OF AMERICA
Combines Volume, Technology to Increase Speed and Investment in Innovation
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) today announced the formation of a joint venture to operate a single, combined automated clearinghouse (ACH) platform for both companies and their clients. The new entity, called Pariter Solutions LLC, will be the country's largest processor of ACH payments. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Through joint venture, the two companies will combine their strengths in advanced processing technology and high payment volumes to create a single, more efficient platform. It will also facilitate greater investment in innovation to deliver added value to clients through increased speed, broader product capability and capacity for higher volumes of cross-border payments.
An ACH payment is a mechanism for electronic funds transfers such as direct deposit, direct payment, business-to-business payments, e-checks, e-commerce payments and tax payments. Annual electronic payment volume doubles every five years, according to NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association. In 2007, nearly 14 billion ACH payments were made.
Ownership of Pariter Solutions will initially reside with the founding partners, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Stephanie Sturgis-Griffin, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo, will be CEO of Pariter Solutions. Walter Taylor, senior vice president at Bank of America, will be chief operating officer. The company's board will consist of the CEO and one executive representative from Wells Fargo and one from Bank of America. Payment processing operations are expected to begin in late 2009.
"Pariter Solutions is committed to finding innovative ways to deliver core business services," said Sturgis-Griffin. "This new shared services provider will deliver high quality and enhanced payment processing capabilities that reflect significant efficiencies of scale. It is an important step toward payment convergence and efficiency in the industry."
Bank of America and Wells Fargo top the ACH payments rankings, according to NACHA. Bank of America is first for receiving payments, and Wells Fargo is second. They rank second and third, respectively, for originations.
"Pariter Solutions breaks down traditional, proprietary processing models," Sturgis-Griffin said. "Collaborating on market-leading payment capabilities and product solutions is the right thing to do for our shareholders and customers."
Pariter (Latin: "together") will combine the payment processing capabilities and infrastructure of Wells Fargo and Bank of America. The company will have offices in San Francisco and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 59 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100 retail banking offices, nearly 18,500 ATMs and award-winning online banking with nearly 25 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $595 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through almost 6,000 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the U.S., and one of only two banks worldwide, to have the highest possible credit rating from both Moody's Investors Service, "Aaa," and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, "AAA."
Susan Stanley, (415) 947-3994
Bank of America
Shirley Norton, (415) 622-4041