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PNC says Zelle, banking industry's P2P platform, is 2 weeks away

Zelle is coming soon for mobile bank users everywhere, said PNC Financial Services Group Inc. Chairman and CEO William Demchak.

In response to an analyst's question during a May 31 investor presentation, Demchak spoke at length about Zelle, the person-to-person payment provider formed by a coalition of big banks to combat intermediary payment providers like PayPal Holdings Inc. and Venmo. He said the product is two weeks away from its rollout across the major banking industry players' mobile platforms.

At PNC, Zelle Pay will replace the current provider, Popmoney. The software will ask for permission to access a user's address book contacts, verify them and then provide the ability to make and receive real-time, secure payments. It will also be available and "ubiquitous" as a separate mobile application if a bank decides not to use the Zelle interface within its own platform. Demchak said Zelle already has the capability to work with insurance companies to pay out claims in real time.

Demchak also spoke about the potential change in the approach to bank regulation in Congress and at regulatory agencies. He said he believes a change in the regulatory guard, rather than Congressional legislation, will drive regulatory reform and that filling vacancies at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and new leadership at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency could afford a fresh look at Dodd-Frank. He said these new regulatory heads could use some latitude to reinterpret regulations like the Volcker rule, given that the "general consensus" is that it is "overdone" and runs the risk of creating liquidity shocks in the industry. Regulators could also take a closer look at cost and overlap of the current regulatory regime.

"We've obviously been very vocal on the liquidity coverage ratio and the fact that we're thrown in with the great big banks when we have a different risk profile, and I think there's some sympathy there," Demchak said.