Q&A: Bruce Lowthers
Bruce Lowthers is co-chief operating officer of financial technology company FIS, where he develops and delivers FIS’ banking, wealth, payments and treasury offerings for financial institutions, retail, government and corporate clients in North America. Lowthers is also the chair of the P20 conference and the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC). He was named 2017 “Maverick of the Year” by The American Business Awards and International Business Awards and “World’s Most Influential Payments Professional” by the World Payments Congress. Here, he weighs in on the payments industry in Atlanta and the importance of the organizations that support it.
How did Atlanta become the payment processing capital of the world?
It has always been a hotbed of processors. Nations Bank, larger regional banks were all based there and perhaps that is why. Atlanta has tremendous infrastructure, easy access, is known internationally for great culture as well as other world-known headquarters, like Coca-Cola … all contributing to a great community. There are over 70 companies in the metro Atlanta area that are payments centric and they are all sizable. A startling stat—and why payment processing is important to the state of Georgia—larger than the entertainment industry is to California!
Why was London selected as Atlanta’s partner for the P20?
It has turned out to be a great partnership; the U.K. government officials have embraced it. London has been thought of as the fintech capital of the world—so this became a natural connection to Atlanta and the ATPC. We picked London right out of the gate; and, candidly, our countries are friendly and do things together, so it was a great opportunity to move ideas forward—to really drive change and improvement to our financial systems and more importantly, to people’s lives.
Why are you so passionately involved in the payments industry?
Reflecting on my early career and the start-ups I was a part of and now my evolving role at FIS … it really goes back to helping consumers. To put it simply, but not to be taken lightly, “We innovate financial solutions to improve people’s lives.” So, it is all about having a positive and empowering impact for people not only here in the U.S., but across the globe. That is what makes the ATPC and the P20 extra special.
What do you currently see as the most pressing issues in the payments industry?
Cybersecurity is probably the most important and pressing issue facing the industry and, if you asked my peers what keeps them up at night, you would most likely get the same answer …. cybersecurity /cybercrime. By coming together with a common purpose to stay ahead of fraud and cybercrime, we are privileged to have a seat at the table with the largest processors, sharing our concerns, our findings, our ideas, which is benefiting the entire industry, not just one or a few. The threat that cybercrime brings forth requires us all to move at a different pace while rallying together for the sake of the industry’s financial health and reputation. But, ultimately it is for the consumer—the protection of the consumer’s identity and their financial health.