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DALLAS – Corporate credit unions are more than just getting their feet wet with technology – they’re diving right in. At press time, the $5.6 billion Southwest Corporate FCU was the sole CU representation for NACHA’s Project ACTION. NACHA launched Project ACTION (ACH Credit Transactions Initiated Online) back in May to help ease consumers’ fears about making purchases over the Internet by utilizing the established ACH network (CU Times, May 2). Project ACTION is working on implementing drop-down menus on popular e-commerce sites to give consumers the ability to choose their financial provider and initiate an ACH transaction, without having to give personal financial information like a credit card number to the e-com vendor. Basically, it changes the model of the e-com vendor going out and pulling a payment from a consumer’s financial provider, and instead has the financial provider initiating the payment on behalf of the consumer. Southwest Corporate joins 24 other financial players as the initial Project ACTION group. Other participants include Bank One, CheckFree, Citibank, Wells Fargo Bank, Corillian, Fidelity Investments, T. RowePrice, InteliData Technologies, VeriSign, and even the U.S. Postal Service. Southwest Corporate FCU may have had a jump on other credit union groups with Project ACTION given that Southwest Corporate FCU President/CEO Francis Lee is on the board of NACHA. “This ties in nicely with our Internet banking service, and the bent we have toward technology,” said Bob Rehm, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Southwest Corporate. “It’s really a pretty consumer-friendly idea if you think about it. Typically you get on a merchant’s Web site and have to give credit or debit card information. The vendor goes to the financial to get the money. With this, you’re telling the financial to pay the vendor so the vendor doesn’t get any of your information. It’s an appealing concept,” said Rehm The corporate has become more active with technology of late. It is currently pilot testing an Internet banking solution, and is set to launch that product later this year. A number of other corporates are also going down that road. Project ACTION has had just one meeting so far, according to Michael Herd, spokesperson for NACHA. Project ACTION is still looking for more organizations to join the initiative, said Herd. “Francis is on the board of NACHA so he kind of had the inside knowledge of the project and how it can be used on the Net,” said Rehm. Rehm, who attended the first Project ACTION meeting, said that initial get-together was mostly organizational, and the group will now start working on the business of the initiative and determining how to bring a product to the market. [email protected]

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