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New KeyBank EVP Carpetto Brings New Payments Perspective

Al Carpetto, KeyBank's new EVP, says he wants the bank to be viewed as a top-tier payments provider, including in areas such as treasury management, foreign exchange and institutional asset services.

KeyBank is gaining a new perspective on payments. In February, Alfred Carpetto joined the Cleveland-based bank as EVP and head of the Enterprise Commercial Payments Group. Carpetto brings to the position the benefit of having seen the payments industry from different vantage points throughout his career.

Most recently, Carpetto served as head of global transaction services for the Americas at Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Prior to that, he was a sales executive within the Treasury and Securities Services Group at New York-based JPMorgan Chase, where he spent 18 years. He also has held leadership positions at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and at Dean Witter Reynolds.

"I am very excited about this opportunity," Carpetto tells BS&T. "Having worked in the payments industry, I think KeyBank has a unique opportunity with its clients. ... They've chosen KeyBank in many aspects of their business."

One of the many challenges that Carpetto says he looks forward to managing is the development of what he calls the group's brand. "I'm not sure everybody fully understands what the Enterprise Commercial Payments Group brings to the table," he explains. "Most people may think it's just cash management, but it's not."

KeyBank's ($89 billion in assets) Enterprise Commercial Payments Group includes not only treasury management, but also international foreign exchange and institutional asset services -- businesses that historically have been separate at the bank but have recently been pulled together under a singular payments umbrella that's being managed by Carpetto. "KeyBank's restructuring and renaming of this business is an example of another major bank saying the payments business is important and it needs to be leveraged and cross-sold into client relationships," he says.

Carpetto says he plans to tackle the brand development with a "two-front assault." First, he'll work internally to get the once-separate business segments to understand the group's structure and value proposition. Then he'll lead the group in using that knowledge to provide client messaging and to drive that understanding externally.

"We manage products that are sold by everyone in the bank. So whether you're a large corporate relationship banker or middle-market banker, it doesn't really matter because every client can use the payments products we offer," Carpetto relates. "We talk to clients very frequently, and as a result that leads to conversations that can tee-up other opportunities. We clearly have an advantage when we're talking to clients from a payments perspective."

Product Development: A Vertical Leap

Developing products and client relationships in more verticals is another task on Carpetto's list. "You're going to see some really aggressive moves by some banks in the next two to three years -- and KeyBank will hopefully be one of them -- to start to focus on different verticals that are very paper-intensive," he says, explaining that as businesses desire to make more progress toward paperless, automated processes, financial institutions can help them achieve their goals of becoming more efficient.

Carpetto says one of the verticals he'll be "pushing very hard" is the healthcare vertical. "As the economy improves, we're going to start getting more prospects on the table for discussion, and I think the payments business is a great business to lead with," he comments.

From a broader, more long-term perspective, Carpetto says, "I want us to be viewed as a top-tier payments provider." He stresses that when he says "payments," he means all products under the Enterprise Commercial Payments Group umbrella, including cash management, payments receivables, information reporting, foreign exchange and trade, as well as institutional asset servicing.

"At the end of the day," Carpetto notes, "I want our people to understand their roles and responsibilities. But most important, I want them to act as trusted advisers to clients. When you sit across from a client you should add value. And the only way you're going to add value is to advise them."

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