Banks that use First Data Corp. for credit card processing will soon be able to analyze their programs more quickly and effectively through a cooperative arrangement with Broadway & Seymour Inc.

First Data's card services group has entered into a strategic alliance with the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank technology provider. The companies will offer client/server-based systems that card issuers can use to create targeted marketing campaigns.

"This long-term strategic alliance represents a powerful combination of resources that will benefit all of our clients," said William Neal, chairman and chief executive of Broadway & Seymour.

Under their five-year, multimillion-dollar agreement, Broadway & Seymour will provide consulting services to First Data and systems integration services to First Data clients. Broadway & Seymour will also join First Data to market the new distributed systems offerings to their combined client bases.

"If I'm a bank and I issue credit cards and I want to do a marketing program, I can sort and segment cardholders and build solicitation campaigns based on different characteristics - right from a personal computer that's located right on my desk," said Donna Walsh, a vice president at Omaha-based First Data, which is No. 1 in the card processing business.

"Our clients could always do that - getting the information from the First Data mainframe - but now they will be able to manipulate the information themselves, making the whole process faster," she added.

What's more, Ms. Walsh said First Data's financial institution clients will be able to integrate other bank information - like auto loans or home equity loans - with the credit card data, thus building a more powerful data base.

"This distributed processing effort is a strategic move intended to get us on track with the growing needs of our clients to be flexible in their card programs," she said.

Broadway & Seymour has provided software development, systems integration, and outsourcing services to the financial services industry since 1981. First Data officials lauded Broadway & Seymour's expertise in customer service and support. That expertise, they said, would be a necessary component as banks move into client/server network computing.

"Installation, support, and service of a distributed processing environment is an entirely different story from a mainframe environment," said Ms. Walsh. "Broadway & Seymour is a technology-savvy organization with lots of experience in systems integration, which is just what we needed."

The alliance creates the possibility that the two companies will work together on other projects.

"There's a lot of flexibility in the agreement," said Ms. Walsh. "For example, maybe our professional services area - that's our technology group - would want to have Broadway & Seymour come in and consult on various technology projects.

"Basically, Broadway & Seymour will be helping us build lots of different applications," she added. "Some examples might be customer service or collections - which we would then own and market to our client base."

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