David O'Connor, a Pathfinder in Era of Electronic Banking

Article excerpt

David A. O'Connor's first exposure to the banking industry came when he began investigating Los Angeles bank robberies for the Federal Bureau of Investigation about 30 years ago.

But despite the colorful memories he retains from that job, the newly appointed chairman of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association said his stint as a marketing executive at Virginia National Bank had a much more lasting effect on his career path.

"My marketing background has landed me here. It pushes me to remind bankers that there is a chapter in college textbooks that deals with distribution, and it keeps me interested in finding new vehicles for that distribution," says the 56-year-old native of Washington, D.C.

Although Mr. O'Connor chuckles at the thought of being called one of electronic banking's movers and shakers - "I'm moving, but just barely," he jokes - he is definitely among an elite group of banking executives who caught the electronic funds transfer wave as it was cresting in the early 1980s and rode it to success in the 1990s.

As president and chief executive of Internet Inc., Reston, Va., Mr. O'Connor orchestrated the rise of Virginia's Most network from a fledgling ATM switch to a regional electronic banking giant that handled more than 85 million interchange transactions last year.

Linking more than 4,000 automated teller machines, Most has established itself firmly among the top 10 regional shared networks in the country. And it is one of about 15 or 20 electronic banking networks that is likely to survive the expected consolidation of the electronic funds transfer industry, industry executives said.

After eight years of acting primarily as a hub for ATM sharing among banks, Most has begun expanding its lines of business to help members take advantage of such emerging business opportunities as point of sale and electronic benefits transfer. …