ATB Financial welcomes payments Modernization

Payments Canada caught up with Ryan Rabin, Vice President of Payments at ATB Financial to learn about the work he and his team are doing to support Canada’s payments Modernization journey and how ATB Financial customers stand to benefit. 

To kick things off, what areas of payments are you involved with?

I’m a product leader and manager for all of ATB Financial’s payment solutions. My areas of focus include payments Modernization, regulatory compliance, payments product management and operations for cards (debit and credit). We have 5,000 team members at ATB Financial. Together with other team members, I cover both the technology and management sides of the business.

As a Direct Clearer, ATB Financial is involved in many areas of payments Modernization. What are your thoughts on landing all aspects of payments Modernization successfully?

Our focus is on outcomes. From a technical readiness perspective, we’re diligently honing in on every technical attribute of Lynx, Canada’s new high-value payments system. Our internal readiness for Lynx required us to look at our whole end-to-end payments flow, which resulted in some changes to our front-end applications. We’re now in the process of finishing up the technology development for Lynx in connection with the hosting systems through Payments Canada.

Further, we’re taking a look at regulatory and policy considerations that are impacting our landscape.
To successfully land Modernization we need to be ready for Lynx first, with our work prioritized to meet industry timelines.

How do you see your customers benefiting from modernized payments?

The pandemic has accelerated our customers’ adoption of digital banking practices. In response to this, and in support of things to come, we’re keeping our customers updated on digital solutions and starting to prepare them for the future of payments with data.

In terms of customer benefits, combining data with payments is everything in transactional banking. It will help create efficiencies in collections and payable processes as customers will be able to take the data that comes with a payment and automate that into their account management system, giving them a more holistic view of their business in the process. For international customers who may already be using the global message standard ISO 20022, they’ll most likely see a more seamless integration of Canadian payments data into their current operations.

What benefits do you see for ATB Financial?

We’re anticipating the efficiencies we’ll gain from having a more robust and stable high-value payments platform in the form of Lynx – one that allows the payment structures and flows to be as fast as possible. Modernized payments will help our business customers push products out and receive products more quickly instead of waiting a day or two for something to settle. When it comes to real-time payments, we’re looking forward to seeing real-time payments for customers translate into cost reductions on their side.

Lastly, we’re keen to explore what we can scale and build on top of the frameworks that will be supplied via the Real-Time Rail (RTR), and uncover what the new system’s access models might mean in terms of new business models for ATB Financial.

You mentioned the benefit of real-time payments for your customers. Can you expand more on the opportunities?

Data-rich payments are a legitimate game-changer for the whole ecosystem. With that, the value that the RTR brings by facilitating real-time, data-rich transactions and its efficiency versus other payment instruments is where the value lies for our customers, our organization, and many others.

The RTR is going to change payments, no question. Let’s look at the bill pay landscape, for instance. Right now you can pay invoices via online banking, but the receiver takes a few days to post their invoice and once you’ve paid you don’t get access to that credit for a couple of days. With request to pay as part of the RTR, customers will be able to receive timely payment messages from their service providers and they’ll be able to pay instantly. Leveraging requests to pay with a bill pay feature will translate into material value, giving customers more immediate access to their credit by nature of having that payment remitted very quickly.