Fiserv Inc.’s purchase of four check processing centers from Marshall & Ilsley Corp., announced Monday, is less a prelude to an outright merger between the Milwaukee rivals than an indication of how each is approaching the slow-growth business of processing checks, analysts say.

The centers, which are in Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota and serve 90 financial institutions, add 200 million checks to the 4.5 billion that Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv already handles a year through more than 40 centers. The deal leaves M&I, of Milwaukee, with eight centers. The price was not disclosed.

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