Magazine article American Banker

Appetite for Tech Growing, FIS Says

Magazine article American Banker

Appetite for Tech Growing, FIS Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Johnson

Banks are still digesting a full plate of mortgage and other economic woes, but that's not stopping them from adding ambitious technology projects to their diet, if the first of vendor earnings reports is an indication.

Fidelity National Information Services Inc. said Tuesday that it continued to sign contracts with banks to upgrade their core systems, which serve as the backbone of their retail operations.

"We continue to see banks who have weathered the financial storm to now start to free up their capital dollars to start making investments so they can compete in this cycle and gain market share," Gary Norcross, the Jacksonville, Fla., vendor's chief operating officer, said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday. "Given the breadth of our solutions, that plays very well for us. I'm not here to say that there ... aren't institutions out there that are hunkered down and not making any buying decisions, because there are. The fortunate thing for us is we are just seeing more and more of those get through their process and now starting to focus on buying."

For core deals specifically, FIS signed United Bancshares Inc., a $7.2 billion asset bank holding company, which is based in Washington and Charleston, W.Va., and a West Coast bank with more than $6 billion of assets, said Frank Martire, the chairman and chief executive of FIS. It also signed a new agreement with First Niagara Bank, a subsidiary of First Niagara Financial Group Inc.

Analysts said they expect to hear the same trends from other large vendors, including Fiserv Inc., which reports earnings on July 26. "Broadly speaking the banks' purse strings are loosening," said John Kraft, a senior vice president with D.A. Davidson & Co. "And broadly speaking I think both [vendors] are talking about pipelines that are stronger than maybe ever. …

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