Money Odds & Ends

Metavante reports strong quarter
Brown Deer-based Metavante Technologies Inc. posted second quarter revenue of $424.8 million, up 7 percent from $395.7 million in the same period a year ago. The company reported quarterly net income of $36.9 million, or 31 cents per share. However, earnings comparisons with the prior year would be irrelevant, since the company’s capital structure has changed since it was spun off from Marshall & Ilsley Corp. in November 2007.

Frank Martire, president and chief executive officer of Metavante, said, "Our second quarter results met our expectations and completed a good first half of the year. Organic growth was solid, and benefited from success in prior periods cross-selling our comprehensive product portfolio and capturing new business. The combination of operating leverage and cost productivity allowed us to continue to make additional investments in future growth while still improving current profitability."

Commenting on company’s outlook, Martire said, "At the mid-point of our fiscal year, it is becoming increasingly apparent that 2008 will be another good year for Metavante. Continued strong execution, coupled with some stability in consumer spending behavior and customer investment during the second half, should enable us to deliver full year financial results consistent with our guidance. While we remain focused on closing a solid 2008, we also recognize that sustaining organic growth in 2009 and beyond requires us to work harder to sign new business in a challenging economic environment, and continue to make investments in technologies and capabilities that will drive future growth."

Northwestern Mutual sells small stake in Russell Funds
Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. recently sold 5 percent of its interests in its Russell Investments fund group to Nippon Life, Japan’s largest life insurance company. The companies have agreed to explore potential joint business opportunities, continuing the relationship between the two leading mutual life insurance companies that has developed over the last several years.

Northwestern Mutual and Nippon Life initially will assist each other in pursuing U.S. and Japanese investment opportunities, including U.S. private equity and mezzanine co-investments, and potential Japanese equity investments. The companies also will periodically share investment insights and consider an exchange of investment personnel. Russell Investments, a global investment firm and subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual, is headquartered in Tacoma, Wash. With $211 billion of assets under management, Russell serves individual, institutional and advisor clients in more than 40 countries.

"This business opportunity is a good one and should prove beneficial to Nippon Life and Northwestern Mutual," said Edward Zore, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Mutual. "Nippon Life is a premier long-term investor with a significant international presence, making its investment in Russell a ‘win-win’ for all parties involved.

Fiserv venture will serve Brazilian immigrants
Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc. has formed a partnership to help Brazilian banking giant Banco do Brasil create a new Federal Savings Bank in the United States to serve Brazilian immigrants who speak Portuguese.

Subject to regulatory approval, the new financial institution will deploy the Premier core banking system from Information Technology Inc. (ITI), a business unit of Fiserv, and pursue an ambitious plan to open five branches in the coming months.

Federal Savings Bank will offer mortgages and deposit accounts, and will utilize a range of other Fiserv solutions to enhance its services, including Fiserv Credit Processing, IPS-Sendero for enterprise risk management, Fiserv EFT for ATM and debit cards and Fiserv Lending Solutions.

"We found large pockets of Brazilian immigrants throughout the U.S. who are not adequately served by existing banking institutions, mostly because they are primarily Portuguese-speaking," said Leonard Whyte, deputy general manager for Banco do Brasil. "This market is an obvious niche for the bank, and we chose Fiserv and ITI because they have a strong reputation for supporting clients serving niche markets. They will be an important partner to us, as we work to serve the Brazilian community in the U.S., and give immigrants a financial institution they can call their own."

"Banco do Brasil demands high levels of scalability and integration to accomplish their ambitious growth plan," according to Mike Young, president of the Fiserv Bank & Thrift Division. "Not only is Premier the most widely used core banking suite in the nation, serving financial institutions of all sizes, technology and business models, but Fiserv delivers a large and comprehensive set of solutions, all built around a dynamic core and outsourced services."

Vrakas/Blum pitches in at Women’s Center
The Brookfield-based public accounting and business advisory firm of Vrakas/Blum, S.C. recently participated in a corporate volunteer effort for The Women’s Center.  More than 10 team members from Vrakas/Blum assisted in the half-day event on July 17, 2008.  Participants assisted The Women’s Center with a variety of cleaning and maintenance projects including cleaning and planting in the outdoor garden and sorting food in the pantry.  In addition, Vrakas/Blum recently made a monetary donation to The Women’s Center from funds raised during the firm’s Jeans Day, in which team members were allowed to wear blue jeans in exchange for a $5 contribution.

Located in Waukesha, The Women’s Center is a not-for-profit human service agency with a mission of providing safety and support to women and their families and to facilitate their development.

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