The annual conference of NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association, was enlivened this year by giant retailer Wal-Mart's call to add corporate representatives to the group's board. NACHA's ACH Network clears electronic payments between banks, and its board currently includes only bankers.

Two Wal-Mart representatives hosted a session at the meeting to discuss the issue, which provoked considerable debate.

Daphne Gilliam, Wal-Mart's check product manager, argued that NACHA's "consensus rule-making, resistance to change and fear of criticism" have made it slow to adapt to changes in technology and meet the automated payment needs of banks' corporate clients.

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