Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 51 to 50 to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule – with Vice President Mike Penc...
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Global Atlanta: Paying Atlanta Forward
November 20, 2015
Yesterday, ATPC Executive Director H. West Richards, participated in Global Atlanta's panel, "Paying Atlanta Forward." West spoke about the history of payments and FinTech in Atlanta, from how it started through being recognized as “Transaction Alley” today. Then closing out the day's panel, West provided insight into the regulatory opportunities and challenges facing the payments industry.
The panel was the culmination of a series of interviews with industry executives in Transaction Alley, conducted by editor Trevor Williams, and resulted in a full report on the payments industry in Georgia, and specifically metro Atlanta. Excerpts featuring the ATPC and its member-companies can be found below, and the report can be read in full here.
Paying Atlanta Forward: Fintech Sector Helps Drive City's Tech Ascendance
The American Transaction Processors Coalition launched in Atlanta in April 2014 as a voice in Washington for an industry it says supports 40,000 Georgia jobs directly. It now counts key Georgia congressional leaders — including Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, and Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson — among its allies and has worked with the Electronic Transaction Association to drive the creation of a payments caucus in both houses of Congress. Locally, the coalition helped foster PeachPay, a corporate advisory council to Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber is in the process of building a Fintech Task Force — following the model of a similar group on mobility that has seen the city promote itself at the Mobile World conference in Barcelona and bring the North American edition here. The Technology Association of Georgia has a Fintech Society, one of some 30 groups under the umbrella of the 30,000-member nonprofit.
At stake in these efforts is not only future expansion of Transaction Alley, but also the ground the city has already gained in the payment processing space, says H. West Richards, the ATPC’s executive director.
As Worldpay’s headquarters search shows, global companies are always looking for the most favorable environment, and payments firms don’t have investments in capital equipment tying them down like factories do.
To keep what Atlanta has built, Mr. Richards says the city and state should introduce payments-related incentive programs, pass favorable laws, institute training programs to ensure a pipeline of industry talent, maintain healthy incubators and attract investment capital.
“We’re either going to do all these things or we’re going to slowly lose all these companies” to aggressive places like Florida and Texas, he said, adding a silver lining to his warning: With the right moves, including a potential designation as a center of excellence for fintech by Congress, Atlanta could become the “crossroads of digital commerce” for the 21st century, he said.
“You do all these things in payment processing, and 25 years from now and Atlanta could be on par with New York, Chicago and San Francisco as an international innovation and financial services center. I don’t think you could do that in other sectors.”