U.S. Bancorp's acquisition of expense management software builder and travel agency TravelBank culminates a series of investments to build integrated business software and services, accelerate midmarket demand for banking and payments, and fend off financial technology firms.

Banks traditionally picked up small business clients through lending and banking, but a digital revolution has changed that, according to U.S. Bancorp execs. Increasingly, they said, companies choose payment providers based on software that manages other operations. According to chairman, president and CEO Andrew Cecere, customer acquisition nowadays is "principally through a payments component." 

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