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KeyBank Names New Head of Commercial Payments Group

by Jeremy Nobile, Crain's Cleveland Business 05.12.2016

KeyCorp has appointed Ken Gavrity as executive vice president and new group head of KeyBank’s Enterprise Commercial Payments Group, a highly targeted growth area for the Cleveland-based company.

Gavrity, who’s based in Cleveland and will report to Randy Paine, co-head of Key Corporate Bank, is taking over the position from Clark Khayat, who has resigned the role because of health reasons, the company said.

In the position, Gavrity will oversee the strategy, development and distribution of Key’s domestic and international payment and trade service offerings designed for businesses, public entities and financial institutions, according to Key.

Khayat and Gavrity together joined Key about two years ago to grow the business, which Gavrity said was “materially underpenetrated.” Gavrity most recently served as head of products and innovation in the commercial payments group.

A strategy in that space has driven Key’s development of partnerships with financial technology — or “fintech” — companies. The growth strategy in the payments space is behind Key’s recent partnerships with companies like Charlotte, N.C.-based AvidXchange and Philadelphia-based InstaMed.

Many large banks are becoming more active in the fintech space in different ways because of their application to banking services and to capitalize on its growth potential. According to CB Insights, a group that tracks fintech investment, that sector saw more than $19 billion in investments in 2015 — the most ever, and a 36% surge over investments in 2014.

In addition to seeking out other fintech partnerships and improving services in the payments group, that business line will get a jolt from Key’s merger with New York-based First Niagara Financial Group, which will provide a slew of new personnel and customers deepening that business.

“There are a lot of problems to solve for customers that haven’t been looked at in a long time in a very fragmented space with meaningful profit pools,” Gavrity said. “When you think of how we were underpenetrated, this offers us a great opportunity.”