Magazine article American Banker

M&I Buys Second-Ranked Bill Payment Processor

Magazine article American Banker

M&I Buys Second-Ranked Bill Payment Processor

Article excerpt

By COSTANZO, CHRIS

Broadening its presence in home banking, M&I Data Services has acquired a Travelers Express unit that specializes in electronic bill payment.

Travelers' Moneyline Express business, with more than 700 financial institution customers, is the second-largest provider of consumer bill- payment processing in the United States, behind Checkfree Corp. of Atlanta.

Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition catapults Milwaukee-based M&I Data Services, a leader in data processing, into the bill-payment market, estimated by Dove Associates at $139 billion.

"We want to participate in the accelerating shift toward electronic payment systems," said Michael D. Hayford, executive vice president at M&I.

M&I, a unit of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., was already using the Moneyline service to provide bill-payment processing to its 170 home-banking clients.

The deal could mean more features at the same or lower cost, since only a single vendor would be receiving fees, said one customer, Lloyd L. Hamm Jr. of Eastern Bank in Lynn, Mass. Eastern, with $2.7 billion of assets, also uses M&I for data processing.

Mr. Hamm, the bank's senior vice president and chief information officer, said he has found M&I's bill pay customer service capabilities "exemplary."

But Christopher Musto, senior analyst at Gomez Advisors Inc., Concord, Mass., said he is "not sure M&I's customers should be unabashedly happy about M&I owning a bill-payment processor."

Though it makes sense for M&I to get a "stake in the ground on this side of processing," Mr. …

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