The Clearing House announced today that G. Kennedy Thompson, chairman and chief executive officer of Wachovia Corporation, has been elected Chairman of the Board. 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 common practice is to serve two.
"This is a critical time for The Clearing House and the payments industry in general," said Mr. Thompson. "We're undergoing some fundamental changes as payments migrate from paper to electronic, regulations become more complex and new competitors enter the marketplace."
Mr. Thompson also commented on the power of The Clearing House. "Our organization is uniquely positioned to influence the direction of the payments business in the U.S. I'm honored to serve in this role and look forward to working with my colleagues to address the challenges and opportunities ahead."
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.
Mr. Thompson brings a wealth of experience and a high level of leadership to The Clearing House Board of Directors. 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. Mr. 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, the company led the financial services industry in customer service. 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.
"I am very pleased that Ken has accepted this leadership role at a pivotal point in our history," said Jeffrey Neubert, CEO and President of The Clearing House. "With his proven leadership and deep financial services background, The Clearing House will continue to play an influential role in key payment industry matters."
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. Financial institutions of all sizes benefit from this unique blend of payment systems that meet the highest standards for reliability, security and service.
Ken 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.
"Victor was a strong and involved leader through some very difficult times," said Mr. Neubert. "Early in his term, banks faced an enormous challenge with the events of September 11. He led the organization with skill and dedication through that crisis and initiated the national forum activities that followed to prevent the flow of funds to terrorists and terrorist organizations."
"He was also pivotal in shaping and implementing The Clearing House strategic plan and overseeing several outstanding years of national expansion, growth and performance," said Mr. Neubert. "I am personally very grateful for his dedication and support for this organization."