Sumit Arora: Modernizing Payment Services

20 under 40: Inspiring Leaders to Watch


There are some well-known businessmen who have distinguished themselves through their unparalleled contributions to the industry. One of these individuals, who has achieved success in the payments sector, has been recognized as a 2022 Business Elite ’40 Under 40′ Honoree, one of the top 40 exceptional young entrepreneurs in North America, for his contributions to payments. This prestigious award highlights game-changers in the payments industry, and Sumit Arora is truly humbled to be among such an inspiring group of professionals.

Sumit is serving as a Senior Vice President and Senior Leader, Enterprise Payments Strategy and Planning at Wells Fargo Bank since past two years. In this role, he is responsible for crafting and executing strategies with payments industry bodies like the Federal Reserve System to advance the bank’s payments initiatives. He was born and raised in Delhi, India, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Delhi Technological University, one of India’s most prestigious engineering institutions for over 75 years. In addition to his professional duties, he enjoys writing, public speaking, and contributing to numerous articles, papers, podcasts, and conferences on payments and banking. He also serves on the boards of several national and regional business associations and charitable organizations.

Sumit comes from a humble middle-class north-Indian family where values like hard work, discipline, and education were instilled in him from a young age. His father, a former banker himself, taught him the value of diligence and perseverance. “He showed me that with focus and determination, you can achieve whatever goals you set for yourself,” says Sumit. “My mother, a homemaker, taught me the importance of kindness, generosity, and putting family first. Her selfless love and care shaped my understanding of what truly matters in life.”  

Sumit was introduced to the payments industry when he began his first job at Infosys Limited as a Software Engineer in 2005. One of his first projects involved coding mainframe programs for consumer and small business credit cards in European markets for the world’s leading credit card company. In this role, he interacted with key industry stakeholders and immediately realized that payments are the timeless pulse of global economic growth. He was jonesing for payment innovations, endless possibilities, and a positive impact on the government, businesses, and consumers. “Payers would have more options than ever before, with no segment of the population left behind. Ensuring unbanked and underbanked consumers were empowered with new options to send and receive money. I wanted to be part of this exciting ecosystem, part of the payment’s evolution journey, and drive and enable more innovations that did not exist—at least not at scale—as recently as 18 years ago,” says Sumit. 

As with any industry expert, staying up-to-date with industry trends is crucial for Sumit to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve. His approach to staying up-to-date with industry trends involves active participation in conferences, reading industry-specific publications, leveraging digital resources and online communities, and continuously seeking knowledge through insightful books. By combining these approaches, he ensures that he is equipped with the latest information and insights necessary to make strategic decisions and drive innovation in the dynamic payments landscape. He prioritizes reading materials that enhance his leadership skills, foster innovation, and provide strategic insights. He is influenced by the work of writers, which includes ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ by Clayton M. Christensen, ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries, and ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman. These books offer valuable lessons on disruptive innovation, lean methodologies, and decision-making processes, which are highly relevant to his role in the payments industry.

Sumit Arora: Modernizing Payment Services
Sumit Arora

A brief on Wells Fargo & Company 

On March 18, 1852, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) founders Henry Wells and William G. Fargo built an innovative start-up to help customers build businesses and manage money in a rapidly changing world. It is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. It provides a diversified set of banking, investment, and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through its four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth and Investment Management.

Keeping abreast of change

For Sumit, staying actively engaged in the industry, marketplace, and community is crucial to remaining relevant, proactive, and successful in his initiatives. It empowers him to acquire and then lead with knowledge, establish valuable connections, generate innovative ideas, and navigate the ever-changing business landscape effectively. Sumit has established a firm engagement in Industry Publications, Speaking Opportunities at Podcasts and Industry Events, Industry Associations, Industry Publications, Speaking Opportunities at Podcasts and Industry Events, Industry Associations, and Community Service: 

  • Engagement in Industry Publications: Sumit actively contributes to industry publications and thought leadership platforms to share his insights and knowledge with fellow professionals and decision-makers. By offering strategic perspectives on emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities, he aims to inspire and inform industry stakeholders. 

  • Speaking Opportunities at Podcasts and Industry Events: He embraces speaking opportunities at prominent podcasts and industry events, where he can share his expertise and exchange ideas with fellow innovators, executives, and critical decision-makers.

  • Engagement in Industry Associations: He holds a board seat at the US Faster Payments Council, which allows him to actively contribute to shaping the future of payments and driving the adoption of faster and more secure payment solutions. Additionally, his involvement in the ValleyFinTechPay and MoneyLIVE advisory boards enables him to contribute strategic insights and guidance to these respected organizations, fostering collaboration and innovation within the fintech and payments ecosystems. 

  • Engagement in Community Service: He firmly believes in giving back to the community and has the privilege of serving as a Board member of the Indo-American Cultural Foundation. Through this role, Sumit actively supports cultural initiatives and events that promote diversity, understanding, and inclusivity. By bridging cultures and fostering mutual respect, he aims to create a stronger and more harmonious society.

"By nurturing and supporting emerging talents, he hopes to contribute to the growth and success of future leaders in the payments space."

Mastering the Craft 

Sumit states that, in his personal opinion, payments serve as the lifeblood of global economic growth. It is the driving force behind any economy, commerce, and our day-to-day lives. The realm of payment experiences and consumer behavior has undergone a remarkable transformation, swiftly transitioning from in-person interactions to a virtual and digital landscape, primarily due to its necessity in recent years. Faster payments have emerged as a fundamental element within these experiences and behaviors, gradually becoming the new norm. Considering all aspects, he envisions that the future faster payments ecosystem will encompass internationally interconnected clearing and settlement frameworks, along with open platform channels that provide customers with optimal access, flexibility, and convenience. These developments herald exciting times for both the payments industry and society as a whole.

As a payment professional, Sumit’s ultimate goal and vision for his legacy revolve around making a significant and lasting positive impact on the industry and the communities he serves. He aspires to be recognized as a catalyst for change, innovation, and growth in the payments landscape. One aspect of his legacy will be his contribution to driving the adoption of faster and more efficient payment systems. Through his work at associations like the U.S. Faster Payments Council and ValleyFinTechPay, he aims to promote collaboration, foster innovation, and facilitate partnerships that will shape the future of payments. By advocating for globally integrated clearing and settlement frameworks, open platform channels, and enhanced customer experiences, he hopes to leave a lasting imprint on the industry. Another significant aspect of his legacy is its social impact. By leveraging his position and resources, he strives to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and communities, particularly those in need. 

Furthermore, he is inspiring and empowering the next generation of payment professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Through mentorship programs, speaking engagements, and knowledge sharing, he aims to impart his experiences, insights, and expertise to others who are passionate about driving positive change in the industry. By nurturing and supporting emerging talents, he hopes to contribute to the growth and success of future leaders in the payments space. With many endeavors lined up, Sumit is on the trail of creating a legacy that transcends personal achievements and leaves a lasting positive impact on the payments industry and society as a whole. By driving innovation, promoting collaboration, fostering social impact, and inspiring others, he strives to be remembered as an executive who made a meaningful difference and contributed to the advancement of the industry and the betterment of the communities the company serves. Lastly, he desires to continue to inspire the younger and budding talent to strive for excellence in their respective fields.