iPay Technologies Calls Growing Pains A Good Feeling
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. -- To hear Kelli Schultz tell it, growing pains are nothing new at iPay Technologies.
So the company president--a veteran of the swift corporate sea changes of the dot-boom and bust years--said she's confident the Internet payment specialist can take this newest one in stride, even though it involves doubling her client base in one fell swoop.
In November, iPay signed a deal with Jack Henry & Associates to provide the gateway for Jack Henry's electronic bill payment solution, NetTeller PowerPay.
That brings 1,500 financial institutions into the fold as potential providers to end users of iPay's services, essentially doubling the existing client list of credit unions and community banks.
iPay Technologies was created in 2001 with about 150 client contracts purchased from a predecessor company that disbanded after the dot-com implosion of 2000, Schultz said.
Since then, another 1,300 or so clients have joined, and iPay Technologies now processes about 3 million payments a month for about a half-million end users, Schultz said. That volume, too, is expected to double as the Jack Henry client base comes on line.
iPay Technologies currently employs about 265 people at its home base in Elizabethtown, about 40 miles from Louisville. The company draws its workforce from the big city nearby and from even-more nearby Fort Knox, where military spouses provide an educated, particularly adaptable talent pool, Schultz said.
About 50 of those FTEs support product development life cycle, Schultz said, "everything from software design to programming to quality assurance. We have growing pains here, I guess, but we're so accustomed to it, it just seems normal. We hire crazies and find they either love it or hate it. If they love it, they're keepers."
Those "keepers" will help iPay Technologies take on a new challenge. The company provides end-to-end services, including call center, Schultz said, and essentially has been a turnkey provider.
"But Jack Henry is different," Schultz said. "For them, we've taken all the parts that make up a turnkey and break them into parts and parcels, so Jack Henry will have its own PowerPay platform as part of NetTeller up front, but the electronic remittance can use iPay from point to point in the back.
"We're building an interface between their front and back end systems to do that, and we already have the data warehouse, which is the difficult part, really. They can just brand it all and embed it in their core systems, which is their capability," the iPay Technologies
Looking at the broader picture, Schultz said she sees person-to-person payments and business services as the "two frontiers for credit unions," and sees particular potential in bill-pay and cash management for small businesses.
"That's one area where there's tremendous potential and not a lot of traction yet," she said, "and I'm not sure why."
Knowledge of their own membership might be one reason, Schultz said. She said when she raised the question at a recent user conference, she was told by many participants that they did not have commercial clients as members, or can't afford to invest in servicing their cash management and bill-pay needs.
"Well, I respectfully countered that they probably didn't realize how many small businesses and proprietorships they have in their own membership. I know it's a scary concept, since it requires investment and you're not really sure the business is there.
"But I'm one of them. I'm a member of my credit union and I'd much rather do business with my credit union than a bank, but I can't do that if my credit union doesn't acknowledge I'm there.
"I say, 'They're there,' and they'll bring you their commercial business if you open the door."