Fiserv negotiates cheque processing deal with Australian banks

Fiserv negotiates cheque processing deal with Australian banks

Fiserv is negotiating with three of Australia's largest banks - Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation - to manage the operations of the banks' proposed Vipro Pty Ltd. cheque processing joint venture.

The negotiations are expected to be complete in the near future. Financial terms of the deal are still under discussion.

If terms can be reached, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac would then each seek formal internal approval to form a joint venture, which would contract with Fiserv. At that time, Fiserv says it would offer jobs to the banks' 750 full-time voucher processing employees and would manage all of the processing operations from within Australia.

But labour unions have warned that up to 200 casual and temporary staff could lose their jobs if the deal goes ahead. Paul Schroder, the national secretary of the bank workers' union, told ABC News he is concerned the plan will mean an eventual cutback in employment.

"Cheque processing is reducing, so there is a danger of job losses," he said.

Fiserv is the largest third-party cheque processing provider in the United States and already operates a similar joint venture operation, Intria Items, with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The vendor also manages significant item processing operations for large banks including JPMorgan Chase Bank and Northern Trust Co.

Fiserv shares rose 31 cents to $38.93 in early-morning trading on the Nasdaq.

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