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Union Bank of California joins EPN for ACH processing

18 October 2004  |  1462 views  |  0 Source: Electronic Payments Network

The Electronic Payments Network (EPN), the nation's only private-sector ACH operator and a payment system of The Clearing House Payments Company, today announced that Union Bank of California has begun processing transactions through its ACH network. Union Bank joins more that 1,600 commercial banks, credit unions and savings banks around the country that rely on EPN for ACH processing and related services.

"EPN provides Union Bank with a reliable, highly secure payments platform to process ACH transactions, while providing operational redundancy," said Kathleen Milner, Senior Vice President of Union Bank. "We also look forward to using EPN's value-added services to enhance our operations and fraud risk management efforts, as well as expand our service offering to clients."

"In today's marketplace, ACH operators must not only deliver world-class processing capabilities, they also need to offer a comprehensive ACH solution to reduce fraud, manage operational risk and create innovative products for its customers," said Rossana Salaris, Senior Vice President of The Clearing House Payments Company, responsible for EPN.

Robust Risk Management Tools

EPNWATCHsm is a suite of risk management services, which tackles everything from ACH network abuse to OFAC compliance. EPN's fraud detection service monitors ACH return item activity: specifically, returns for consumer and corporate unauthorized and invalid account numbers. This allows for the identification of originators of suspicious transactions or inadequate controls that warrant further investigation by the Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI). While monitoring return activity is a first step, the ability to spot fraudulent transactions earlier in the process is critical for the safety of the ACH network in the future. With that in mind, EPN is screening forward transactions for unusual payment patterns.

"The Electronic Payments Network is continually researching and developing ACH enhancements that provide a real competitive advantage for our customers," said Ms. Salaris.

Additional risk management services include centralized OFAC screening to assist financial institutions with fulfilling their OFAC compliance obligations for cross-border ACH transactions, which eliminates the need to develop or purchase individual screening capabilities. They also include an electronic employee fingerprint service that provides a direct link to the FBI's national fingerprint database to greatly speed processing in fingerprint screening for new hires.

Operations Management Tools

EPN offers automated capabilities to help financial institutions manage their day-to-day operations. These capabilities include: real-time management and monitoring tools, an automated EDI translation and delivery module, credit and debit origination control functions, and a history database to create automated returns and NOCs as well as research capabilities.

Universal Payments Identification Code

UPIC is a secure and easy way for companies to receive electronic payments. The UPIC looks and acts like a standard bank account number, except the UPIC can be used only for ACH credit payments.

"UPIC will be particularly valuable to Union Bank's government agency clients who want to receive payments electronically," Ms. Milner said. "We expect to be issuing UPICs to our clients in the near future."

No system changes are needed to accounts payable, accounts receivable or cash management systems to use a UPIC. It can be included on invoices or websites instead of publishing a company's actual account information. And since it can't be used to originate electronic debits, checks or demand drafts, it provides an important safeguard against fraudulent access to a company's bank account.

"For electronic payments to become ubiquitous, paying electronically has to be as easy as writing a check," said Ms. Salaris. "The UPIC gets us one step closer to that level of convenience and we're pleased that Union Bank is embracing this next phase in payments efficiency."

Today's announcement coincides with the opening of WesPay Symposium 2004 hosted by the Western Payments Alliance, a re-marketer of EPN's service in the western U.S. Union Bank is a member of WesPay, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi/Union Bank of California is one of 19 bank owners of The Clearing House Payments Company.

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