In Estep's role at the head of Nacha, she witnesses the payments industry push to adapt its technology to serve a variety of new purposes.

"There are really no 'new' payments today, but simply new uses of traditional payments -- cards, [automated clearing house] payments, and checks," she says.

Estep joined Nacha in 2008, starting as president and chief operating officer before transitioning to CEO the same year. In this role, "I am responsible for ensuring that the ACH network remains a safe, high-quality payments system," she says.

The most interesting industry trend right now, Estep says, is how fast payment methods are evolving with a focus on meeting end user needs.

"It is not simply a matter of keeping up with competition over time, but really being able to anticipate how to blend capabilities afforded by technology in new ways," she says.

The cost and difficulty of keeping up with fast-changing regulations are among the biggest challenges in her area of the industry, she says.

She predicts that over the next five years, there will be more partnering and blending of organizations with each taking advantage of others' core competencies.

"Being 'global' and employing technology to deliver global solutions will be something that every company should think about," says Estep. "It is not just the large, international companies that are global; but it will be a requirement of any business that wants to simply support one individual who sells goods and services via the Internet."

Before joining Nacha, Estep was an executive vice president at U.S. Bancorp, where she ran the Minneapolis-based bank's transaction services division.

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