Maggie Scarborough, Managing Director, FinServ Strategies
June 27, 2011
The Fundtech – S1 merger really isn’t a big surprise to me after covering the online cash management, online consumer and payments spaces for over 25 years. The two were bound to mash up with another entity. In a consolidating bank market, larger scale is needed by both to catch more “ big fish” by serving global and domestic markets with a full suite of information, payments, trade, supply chain and liquidity products. Another scale element of the deal is the ability to serve far more community institutions, more efficiently (they both have SaaS operations in Atlanta). The pair attains both goals by combining S1’s online consumer, small business and corporate banking and trade platforms with Fundtech’s considerable back-end or core and middle office payments and liquidity capabilities. Wasn’t this ACI’s dream?
Who will dominate and how will it go from here?
Less Choice Creates Opportunities
With fewer online cash management, consumer banking and payments choices for institutions, there is now room for highly competent and global payments and treasury management player, Bottomline Technologies to further spread its wings and for neo-tech Online Banking Solutions (OBS) to further burn into the market. Bottomline Technologies, which serves both global institutions and corporates, will gain even more traction with large and mid-tier institutions that already have core payments capabilities. The concentration of customers with one super-vendor Fundtech-S1, also leaves room for agile players like Online Banking Solutions (OBS) with their straight through processing architecture and secure browser to leapfrog the current competition with more efficient and scalable solutions built for integration. Players like Intuit continue to keep their collective eyes on the vision of financial integration with consumers and small business.
One, Two, Core
What about the core banking titans? Fiserv, FIS, Jack Henry, et al. They have all of the banks on their systems, but haven’t done a very good job of integrating and deploying acquired online cash management and online consumer banking. In-house initiatives, while well-conceived, have lost traction. Plus, there is a trail of less than effective past acquisitions, because the vendors acquired simply didn’t have enough scale to compete with the core’s home-grown capabilities, which they typically give away. My instincts tell me that there will be further consolidation and, like so many past mergers in fintech, the merger of Fundtech and S1 may be simply one and two of a three-base play. Hmmm…will there be a part three? What do you think? Maggie Scarborough, Managing Director, FinServ Strategies, email@example.com, 301-535-4559.