Bye-bye, ITI. Time to check out, CheckFree.
Fiserv Inc., which has accumulated an array of brands over 25 years of acquisitions, is shedding them all.
The company is expected to announce a new branding strategy today that puts the corporate identity front and center.
"We operate a house of brands rather than a branded house," Jeffery W. Yabuki, Fiserv's president and chief executive, said in an interview last week. "We think it's important to go to the market with a single face."
This does not mean that signs on all the buildings in all the towns where the banking technology vendor's units operate will change immediately, but the company is replacing its boxy blue corporate logo with a streamlined one in bright orange.
"We believe the Fiserv brand carries a lot of weight," Mr. Yabuki said.
Despite the troubles facing the financial industry, Mr. Yabuki said the time is right to go to market with the "one Fiserv" approach.
The financial crisis will lead to a new emphasis on risk management, he predicted, and regulators or lawmakers are likely to impose new requirements for compliance.
The rebranding is the next logical step in the "Fiserv 2.0" initiative that began in September 2006, less than a year after Mr. Yabuki succeeded longtime CEO Les Muma, who retired.
Fiserv, the No. 1 company in American Banker's FinTech 100 ranking in November plans to announce the rebranding at the Bank Administration Institute's TransPay conference, which starts today in San Diego. It is promoting the move with advertisements in the trade media and general-interest newspapers in markets such as Milwaukee, near its Brookfield, Wis., headquarters; Lincoln, Neb., where its Information Technology Inc. has more than 1,000 employees; Atlanta, where its CheckFree Corp. operation has 1,500 employees; and Portland, Ore., where Corillian Corp. was founded.
Besides rolling out a new branding strategy, Fiserv is also reorganizing — again. The company combined its 77 business units into five in 2006, and now has condensed four units into two, Mr. Yabuki said. (The fifth, its insurance division, was sold in July.)
The new structure was disclosed to employees in December.
It divides the company into depository institution services, headed by Steve Olsen, who was the group president of Internet banking and electronic bill pay, and financial institution services, led by Tom Warsop, who held the same title under the previous structure.
The depository institution services group includes Fiserv's core processing, online banking, and bill-payment businesses, as well as mobile banking and Fiserv's MyMoney services.
The financial institution services segment includes Fiserv's credit processing, risk management and compliance, automated clearing house, check processing, automated teller machine, credit and debit services, lending, and mortgage processing.
Business units that are well known under their own names, such as ITI and CheckFree, are to be subsumed into the "master brand," Mr. Yabuki said.
He stressed that there are no plans to sunset the products within any of the units. "The product brands that Fiserv is so famous for are not going to go away," he said.
For example, ITI Premier core processing software will now be known as Fiserv Premier. The IPS-Sendero unit goes away, and its products become Risk and Performance Solutions by Fiserv. Fiserv CBS Worldwide, which is both a business unit and a product name, becomes Signature from Fiserv, replacing Comprehensive Banking System for core processing.
Tom Brogan, the research director of retail banking at TowerGroup, an independent research group owned by MasterCard Inc., said it was "an excellent move" for Fiserv to streamline its brand and its operations.
"They've thought this through," Mr. Brogan said. "This is the fulfillment of the direction they've been taking over the last couple of years to get to this point."
The recessionary environment might even work to the company's advantage as it adopts the master brand strategy, he said. "They can work through the kinks on the sales side at a time when the pace is a little slower."
Donald J. MacDonald, an executive vice president at Fiserv and its chief marketing officer, said the new structure would enhance the product line. "The product brands are going to be bolder and better than ever before, because they get the full range of innovation from across the company," he said.
Mr. Yabuki pointed to Fiserv's source capture optimization strategy as an example.
That effort, announced in August, combined CheckFree thin-client technology for check image capture — a Web-based application in which software is not loaded on the client's computers — with image capture technologies from units including Fiserv Comprehensive Banking System; its credit union division; ITI; and its item processing operation.
The result, Mr. Yabuki said, was a set of integrated components with a consistent look and feel, whether a bank installs the system in-house or outsources the work to Fiserv. It also offers consistent processing, whether the deposits are taken at a branch, a store, an office, a cash vault, an ATM, a lockbox, or a customer's home.
"That suite is a very early example of the ability of the larger Fiserv to bring together different areas of expertise and deliver it all in the name of one Fiserv," Mr. Yabuki said.
Rod Springhetti, Fiserv's vice president of business planning and development, said the next frontier is check imaging using mobile phones.
Fiserv said Friday that it had commissioned a survey to gauge the interest of financial companies in mobile deposit capture, and to find out how consumers might respond to the technology.
A third of banks and credit unions said there was a need to offer mobile image capture to business customers, and 70% agreed that business customers would benefit from such a service.
The online survey of clients was conducted in October, and also included 318 customers from 294 banks and credit unions.
Though Mr. Springhetti would not discuss the findings in any detail, he said, "You can find some pockets where there are some unique advantages" to mobile image capture.
He cited a food distributor with 50 delivery trucks in the field as an example.
"Do you leave the perishable goods behind and take a check that might later bounce?" he said. "There is this targeted customer group where the acceleration of electronification serves an additional purpose beyond the convenience of depositing a check."
The goal is to find the people to whom banks can profitably sell these new services, he said. "We can bring to the table something other than technology."