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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Fiserv/EDS data processing deal wasn’t the only major one of 2003. Quite the contrary, 2003 was one of the most active in recent years in terms of consolidation. In May Aurum Technology, which was born out of EDS selling off its community banking division, announced plans to acquire Computer Consultants. The acquisition takes Aurum down market. Aurum has traditionally focused on CUs with $100 million in assets or above, saying its system, designed for community banks, fits larger CUs better. Computer Consultants on the other hand made its living off of credit unions below $100 million, and it did quite well having approximately 600 of such clients. Aurum President/CEO and Chairman Paul Bourke said Jack Henry’s acquisition of CU Solutions (another small CU processor) last year really got him thinking about making a deal to move down market. Also in 2003, Harland Financial Solutions showed everyone it is very serious about the service bureau environment when it acquired Premier Systems, Inc. PSI was a subsidiary of the Iowa CU League. PSI already offered Harland’s ULTRADATA core solution in service a service bureau environment, something Harland itself wasn’t doing. The deal brought Harland 229 CU clients representing $7.5 billion in assets, but more importantly a service bureau processing option. Harland FS Core Systems Group President Raju Shivdasani said he believes more CUs, even larger ones, are going to be moving to service bureau to save on investment, and because the technology is getting better. Still yet another major DP deal was done this year. Open Solutions Inc. acquired Liberty FiTech, a core processor serving approximately 180 small to mid-sized CUs. The addition of Liberty FiTech brought OSI into the small CU market and engrained it further into credit unions. Prior to the deal, OSI had been very successful with billion dollar CUs. Liberty was involved in another interesting tech merger this year when it merged its Liberty Internet Services company with CUNA Network Services. Though positioned as a merger of equals, Liberty was the acquirer in the deal and controls the board and has a majority stake in the new company that was formed from the two former ones, Cavion Plus. The Cavion name may bring back memories for many as it was a former independent Internet services firm that ran into financial trouble, before being bailed out by the Liberty acquisition. Liberty turned Cavion into a winner, taking it from 60 clients and losing money to turning a profit with 230 CU clients. The CNS/Liberty Online merger also once again saw CUNA exit a for-profit business, like it has done over the years with credit cards, data processing, and others. CNS was run different than other for-profit subsidiaries. It accepted outside investment like major industry players such as EDS to help build capital. EDS became CNS’ preferred provider for Net banking. CNS appeared to be making a stand with security solutions. It was offering VPNs, intrusion detection testing and other security solutions. It also became entrenched in smart card solutions geared around making member information more secure. In the end, the leaders of CNS saw a merger as the best way to ensure their products could continue on. [email protected]

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