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1. FIS

HQ location: Jacksonville, Fla.
Frank Martire, Chairman and CEO

Frank R. Martire learned one of the most important lessons of his career in the 1970s, when he was in his 20s, working at Connecticut National Bank.

The chairman and chief executive of Fidelity National Information Services was then fresh out of Sacred Heart University of Fairfield, Conn., and exhausted after working all night on a project that he just couldn't complete.

The goal of the project wasn't important, but what he was about to hear from his boss was.

"I said: 'I did everything I could. I did the best I could and we just didn't get the project done,'" Martire recalls. "But he [answered]: 'Mr. Martire don't ever confuse [effort] for results.'"

That is now one of the guiding principles of FIS' business, which includes core processing among a broad suite of financial technology products.

"It's something that stuck with me throughout my whole career. I want to get results," Martire says. "The attitude of my employees to our clients is a reflection of me personally. Either we do it well or we don't do it."

It's a strategy that has served him well.

This year, FIS is number one in the FinTech 100, having racked up $5.7 billion in revenue in 2011, 87 percent of it from the financial services industry.

But FIS's business is constantly changing. On the horizon are managed services that the company plans to offer to banks. Those bank clients are having to compete with a host of potential disruptive competitors — including financial technology start-ups and expanding prepaid card companies.

"As we speak, the industry is going to have to get more efficient in the delivery of products and services," says Gary Norcross, FIS's president and chief operating officer. "With the increased burdens around risk, around fraud, around emerging competitors."

That will inevitably cause banks to outsource some of their systems. Norcross projects that by 2015, most banks, if not all of them, will be doing some sort of back office processing in the cloud.

Banks "are going to have to turn themselves more into marketing engines," Norcross says. "They are going to have to compete and drive, but because of these non-financial institution competitors, they'll have to really come into the market in a meaningful way," he says. "They are going to have to change the way that they do sales.... And financial institutions, unless they are in the top 50 in the world, they are not going to be able to completely manage their back office."

Martire says everyone at FIS is on-board for the change that's on the way.

Employees in departments ranging from sales to IT are on call to handle the needs of FIS's customers. That's why FIS only recruits from within the financial services industry. Martire pledges — individually, and to every one of FIS' customers — that anyone that leaves a message will get a call back in less than 24 hours, even if that call back is from him.

"What I can't guarantee to you is that we will never make a mistake," says Martire, who speaks in a hushed but stern tone. "But what I can tell you is I have zero tolerance for non-responsiveness."

— By Sean Sposito