TD Readies for Payments Modernization

Payments Canada recently sat down with Christine Hunter, Vice President of Enterprise Payments and Brad Mowat, Senior Manager of Payments at TD Bank Group to discuss how their organization is setting up to support payments system Modernization. Read on for their governance plans, their message to the industry, and to hear what excites them most about payments transformation:

Can you tell me a bit about what TD is doing to prepare for Modernization?

Change has been on the horizon for some time so a couple of years ago we set up an Enterprise Payments Council, which focuses on payments oversight, reporting, and education across TD. Since then, the Council has also started to focus on infrastructure so that we can stay in lock step with Payments Canada’s plans. Following the launch of Payments Canada's Roadmap & High-Level Plan (soon to be public), we're focused on internal governance to ensure we have the right people in place to deliver. To date we have been able to work with Payments Canada by bringing in people as needed – for example, when we provided feedback on the Vision and the Roadmap - but we now need to establish resources to support requirements for the initiatives outlined in the Roadmap.

What do you see as the biggest challenge to accomplishing this?

Payments is a specialized area and there aren’t that many of us, so the biggest challenge is resources. Within TD, there are members of the payments team within the various business lines – retail, commercial, etc. - and it can be difficult to stay closely connected. This will be an important part of the governance model we are implementing to support Modernization – bringing people together and applying a broader, strategic lens at the executive level to bridge the operationally-focused, deep subject matter expertise.

At the same time, we have to carve out the time for these individuals to actively participate in the industry discussions that Payments Canada is orchestrating. This change isn’t just about TD or any of the other banks or credit unions. This is industry transformation we are talking about and we need to ensure that we're engaged and that we have the right focus to do it right. The stakes are huge if we don’t.

What would you say to your colleagues in other financial institutions if you had the opportunity?

Many have been involved in Modernization discussions for a long time. At this point, it's our hope that we are ready to dig deeper and drive appropriate change. We have good alignment on what needs to be done and we are now turning up the intensity as the plans become clearer. We need to work together, prioritize and turn our thoughts into actions. We need to continue to be partners, support Payments Canada and transform the industry together.

What are you most excited about when it comes to Modernization?

We're most excited by the end product in terms of what it’s going to mean for Canadians. It’s rewarding to do something that will be beneficial and meaningful for people. It’s not just about the underlying system, it’s about creating potential and laying the framework for innovation. When you do a major home renovation, it’s not always fun to focus on the foundation or the framing or the wiring, but when it turns out you can leverage the wiring to incorporate a fancy new sound system and you can turn that speaker system on from your smartphone before you even walk through the front door, well … that’s pretty exciting.