Financial systems stocks continued their forceful advance last week, following a buoyant technology sector.

The proposed merger between First Data Corp. and First Financial Management Corp. appears to have further focused investor interest on bank technology firms, with many placing bets that more big deals could be on the way.

Other payments systems firms, such as National Data Corp., SPS Transaction Systems Inc., and Affiliated Computer Systems Inc., saw significant stock price gains after the First Data-First Financial merger was announced Tuesday.

Another big player in the payments business, Electronic Data Systems Inc. announced last week it signed a five-year processing agreement with Procard Inc.

Procard is a leading provider of so-called procurement cards, which corporations issue to managers for making small-dollar purchases.

EDS officials said the agreement will strengthen its presence in the procurement and commercial card processing business, services it began selling to banks earlier this year.

Shares of EDS, which is a unit of General Motors Corp. with its own class of common stock, ended Friday at $43.375 each, up $1.375.

Outsourcing firm Fiserv Inc. announced last week that it had reached an agreement with a subsidiary of the Independent Bankers Association of America to form an alliance to deliver electronic funds transfer services to member banks.

The alliance with IBAA Bancard Inc. will enable Milwaukee-based Fiserv to provide EFT processing services to the IBAA's 6,000 community bank members nationwide, using the company's processing facility in Portland, Ore.

"We're pleased to be able to offer our state-of-the-art electronic banking services through the IBAA," said George Dalton, Fiserv's chairman and chief executive. "Through our new relationship, IBAA members can easily and affordably expand their customer service capabilities."

Fiserv services will include automated teller machine operation, card management, and ATM and debit point of sale network access, officials said.

Fiserv's common stock closed Friday at $26.50, down $1 for the week.

San Rafael, Calif.-based Fair, Isaac & Co. said last Thursday it has appointed executive vice president John Woldrich to the post of chief financial officer, replacing Robert Sanderson, who leaves day-to-day management of the firm Sept. 30.

Company officials said Mr. Sanderson will remain a director and will assist the developer of credit-scoring systems in exploring future joint venture opportunities.

Fair, Isaac's common stock ended Friday at $56.50 a share, up $4.75 for the week.

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