“The integration of two companies of this scale will undoubtedly be a challenge—the short-term shock will take more than 18 months to recover from, with longer implications (culture, systems, etc.) possibly resulting in friction for a decade,” says the report from merchant-acquiring consulting firm The Strawhecker Group.
Processor mergers involve integrating disparate computer and other technological systems as well as combining executive, sales, marketing, and administrative systems. While Fiserv has made its share of acquisitions, especially of bill-payment provider CheckFree, First Data is famous for the companies big and small it has swallowed over more than three decades. They included giants such as First Financial Management, Card Establishment Services, and Concord EFS down to smaller tech companies such as Clover to, more recently, specialist processors such as CardConnect and the independent sales organization BluePay.
What’s more, on the Fiserv side, “many community banks that use Fiserv’s core systems already complain that they are held back and don’t receive the service/functionality they desire,” says the report. “The lack of timely response and support from Fiserv has hindered financial institutions from adopting emerging technology.”