Zelle Says It Welcomes Community Banks

Last week, Bank Innovation wrote about the difficulty smaller banks claim to experience offering their customers the P2P platform Zelle. The smaller financial institutions voiced concerns of long waits and an underlying bias on the part of bank-backed Zelle toward larger institutions.

At the time this story went live, Zelle could not be reached for comment. But in a statement emailed to Bank Innovation later, Jamie Armistead, VP, Zelle Business Line Leader, disagreed with this sentiment.

“As we strive to make Zelle ubiquitous, we are working closely with banks and credit unions of all sizes to offer a fast and consistent payments experience,” Armistead said. “We’ve already seen a diverse set of financial institutions join the Zelle Network, including national banks, credit unions, regional and community banks. Together, the 50 banks on the network today represent 57% of the DDA population. Of these Zelle Network banks, 57% list assets less than or equal to $10 billion, while 34% of participants list assets less than or equal to $1 billion.”

Just how much less than $1 billion is unclear. The U.S. had around 5,000 banks as of December 2017, according to a Statista report. Another report says that 87.5% of those FIs with bank charters have less than $1 billion in assets, with 663 institutions having between $500 million and $1 billion in assets and the rest with less than $500 million in assets.

For the smaller and mid-sized banks, the work of integrating Zelle or any P2P service is typically done through its core providers such as Fiserv, Jack Henry or Finastra.

Since going live last year, Zelle, which is run by Early Warning Services, has made a concerted effort to work with these providers to ensure that smaller banks can be Zelle-ready, according to Armistead.

“Our resellers are working hard to get their core systems and digital offerings fully enabled, and we’re starting to see partners pick up momentum in onboarding clients,” Armistead said. “For example, working with FIS, we recently onboarded 15 banks on the same day. You should expect to see more of that in 2019. In Q3, we signed more than 40 financial institutions to our network through partnerships with our processors CO-OP, FIS, Fiserv, and Jack Henry & Associates.” CO-OP is a technology provider working with credit unions.

Of course, Zelle is not the only P2P service option for these players. Robb Gaynor, general manager of digital banking for Malauzai, a Finastra company, explained to Bank Innovation that overall P2P payments are up 250% in the last quarter, but only a small portion of that share is coming from Zelle. As Gaynor put it, “makes you wonder, ‘Where is Zelle?'”

According to its website, Zelle has over 100 FI partners. The full list can be seen here. Zelle is also partnered with the payment networks Visa and Mastercard.

Zelle processed 116 million transactions and $32 billion worth of payments in the third quarter. According to its 3Q report, transaction volume increased 16% and total money moved increased 13% over the previous quarter.

1 - Reader Likes This Post