Elavon, a global payments provider and subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, is accelerating its growth strategy by investing in new products, technology and expertise to help its business customers keep up with the rapid changes in e-commerce.
Elavon celebrated the opening of its expanded headquarters office in Atlanta on January 31 along with guests from the technology community, local government and non-profit organizations. The space, which includes its global innovation center dubbed The Grove, is home to more than 700 of the company’s 4,500-plus employees. Elavon’s employee base has grown by 20 percent since 2013, and it aims to add 500 employees worldwide over the next three years.
“Growing in Atlanta was an easy decision for us,” said Elavon CEO Jamie Walker (pictured below, seventh from right). “Atlanta is home to a strong financial services market and a highly educated and innovative workforce. Our roots here are deep, as Elavon has been headquartered in Atlanta since 1991.”
Acquisitions are a significant component of Elavon’s growth strategy. Already in 2019, Elavon has acquired Miami-based CenPOS, which offers integrated payment software to large companies, mainly in the automotive, travel and entertainment sectors. That’s on top of several moves in 2018, when it acquired Virginia-based Electronic Transactions Systems (ETS) and invested in fintech companies Poynt in the U.S. and tillhub in Germany.
Elavon is focused on providing clients with integrated payments systems, which allow businesses to combine their accounting, inventory, payroll, customer relationship and other data to provide a real-time, holistic view of their operations.
“More and more, businesses are choosing their payment provider based on the software they use to manage other parts of their operations,” said Walker. “These companies have innovative approaches and fit well within Elavon’s strategy to provide businesses the ability to safely and quickly integrate into our system.”
As a company founded before online shopping existed, Walker and his team are accustomed to the fast pace of change in the payments industry and have been at the forefront of innovation in e-commerce.
“If you think about your own shopping habits, how much have you shifted from buying things at a store to buying them online? We’ve had to shift with that,” Walker said.
Today, Elavon provides secure payments processing and data-based intelligence to more than 1 million businesses in Europe and North America. Some of the industries it serves include airlines, hospitality/lodging, public sector/education, healthcare and retail.
Business customers have said they appreciate the simplicity, security and data provided by Elavon’s payments systems. The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, for example, uses an Elavon-Poynt payments solution. The Poynt terminal has dual screens that face the customer and the employee to make paying for intermission refreshments faster and easier.
“We want it to be a customer-centric experience … to have the customer come and enjoy and have a pleasant evening,” said Jennifer Morgan McCane, finance manager at the theater. “You want to make the transaction so easy that they don’t even have to think about it. And this gives the customer control of their card – they do all of it themselves and they never give their card up for someone else to handle.”
A customer-focused and digital-first vision for the future is critical to Elavon and the bank’s continued success, said U.S. Bank Payment Services Vice Chairman Shailesh Kotwal (pictured above in middle, with Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hala Moddelmog, left, and U.S. Bancorp Chairman, President and CEO Andy Cecere, right).
“We are focused on agility and technology to become central to the lives of our customers,” Kotwal said. “We are seeing growth across all of our product lines, and these investments and partnerships are central to that growth.”