Picture this: you are offered the chance to attend a four-day event in Florida that brings together some of the largest financial institutions, fintech-supporting services, and innovative banking and financial minds—sounds like a gas, right?

Actually, it is.

The fact of the matter is I spend a majority of my waking hours thinking about payments. I’m a Product Marketing Manager at Dwolla; my core responsibility is to ensure our teams can speak about the benefits of our current products to anyone that comes knocking (Interested? Find more here). I keep up with the market, the competition and new and exciting trends in the industry.

If you don’t know, NACHA (the National Automated Clearing House Association) is the governing body of the ACH infrastructure in the United States. That means they make the rules for the 23 billion payments totaling $51 trillion sent in the US in 2018. Call me crazy, but that seems like a daunting task. NACHA has been around since the 1970s. In our new era of technology and the I-need-it-now mentality, banks can get a bad rap for moving slowly and being behind-the-times.

Attending the NACHA Payments Conference was anything but slow and behind-the-times.

On day one of the conference, I attended a session on providing banking services to the cannabis industry. The panel was comprised of individuals from a credit union in Oregon, and these individuals detailed the strict compliance practices they must adhere to in order to provide banking to an industry that now employs more individuals in the United States than there are dentists. This conversation was eye-opening to me—banks are becoming proactive to ensure they can safely and legally support up-and-coming industries.

On the second day of the conference, I sat in on a keynote session from JP Nicols, a fintech aficionado, and one of his messages really stuck with me: “What got us here won’t get us there. Innovation is key.”

This messaging and the intention behind it is something you wouldn’t hear at a banking conference 30 years ago. The landscape is changing—with increasing adoption of ACH across the US (2018 was a record-breaking year for growth), NACHA is changing its mindset to evolve with the innovation happening within the space. Things like Same Day ACH, real time payments and banks partnering with fintech companies are growing areas of innovation within an industry that had traditionally been stagnant.

And that was my main takeaway from my time at the conference. Financial technology is changing. Money is an ancient concept but how we move it and how we use it today is one of the richest areas for innovation. Hundreds of the most forward-thinking minds in the industry joined me in Orlando for the NACHA Payments conference and it reminded me how many smart people are doing interesting things in the industry I love, including Dwolla.

Dwolla was honored to be a finalist for NACHA’s Excellence in Payments Award at this year’s conference. The recognition is extremely humbling. After my experience at the Payments conference, we at Dwolla are more excited than ever to be a close ally of NACHA and the innovation happening in our industry.

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