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<p>BROOKFIELD, Wis. – It wouldn’t appear that Tom Neill, president/COO of the Fiserv Credit Union and Industry Products Group, has a very easy job keeping six separate, but Fiserv-owned credit union data processing businesses in both competitive and cooperative spirits. That’s just how those units are supposed to co-exist, and so far Neill says they’re doing it well. While they are independent of each other, they are members of the Fiserv family and need to work together in certain areas, said Neill. “We have significant efforts to share technology between those six businesses,” said Neill. “Six times a year two people from each one of those units meet to basically share ideas.” Fiserv has always been unique in that when it acquires a company, it takes a hands-off approach and lets that business run very close to how it was before Fiserv was in the picture. The credit union data processing space, however, is notorious for cut-throat competition. Each of the six units – USERS, Aftech, XP Systems, Galaxy, Summit, and CUSA Technologies – has its own president, who needs to worry about the success of the unit, and how it fits into the bigger picture that is Fiserv. “I get the presidents together twice a year. We spend two or three days together. I would say they get along pretty well. There’s a mutual respect of the leadership. They know they’re competitors, but it’s healthy. Occasionally we have a little blow-up. It doesn’t happen very often,” said Neill. Examples of cooperation? USERS and AFTECH are currently working cooperatively on a commercial loan delivery system. They are even working with one of Fiserv’s banking businesses to develop it. “There’s a definite trend of them (CU DP groups) utilizing what Fiserv has to offer, as well as sharing amongst themselves,” said Neill. The ace in the hole many of these businesses wanted when Fiserv was shopping them was support. They now have the full faith and financial support of a large multi-billion company behind them. This could assist with more budgetary dollars, and through taking advantage of products from other Fiserv companies. Neill said it doesn’t happen often, but from time to time a unit will ask corporate Fiserv for money for R&D or a special project. Fiserv’s financial backing was a card the units played often during the Y2K scare. Cooperation also exists on the sales side. “If USERS was at a Summit client, they would notify them just to make sure all those activities are above the board,” said Neill. While they may notify each other, the units don’t share pricing or contract information. Neill said notification could help the existing processor focus on the CU that is shopping around and try and keep them in place. There may be a method to the madness in terms of Fiserv allowing these units to operate individually. Neill said there are an abundance of statistics shared that show how each business is doing in terms of renewals, new client sales, budgets, and on and on. One thing is clear, no one wants to be outdone. “There are comparative statistics. They get paid on individual performance, individual sales results,” said Neill. So there’s an incentive to outpace each other, but also to want the aggregate to do well as there are financial incentives tied to the group’s performance. Through these units Fiserv now has 2,600 CU clients, just around 25% of the industry in terms of number of CUs. As for CUs over $25 million, it has about 45%. Neill said Fiserv is very committed to the credit union industry. Credit unions are one of five core Fiserv business groups, the others being banking, insurance, brokerage and trusts. Neill’s relationship with Fiserv started because of an acquisition. A thrift data processing company in Colorado he headed up was acquired by an Atlanta-based company and then ultimately by Fiserv. Neill joined Fiserv corporate running a group of its product companies, stepping into this current job about two years ago. Neill is not only responsible for the CU units. He heads a group of niche industry businesses, such as plastic cards, electronic statements, forms, and others. Many are businesses with products fit for the banking/CU market. [email protected]</p>

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