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Rivals may chase Fiserv special bank charter lead

Payments Dive

Fiserv’s application for a special purpose bank charter in Georgia has sparked a flurry of interest in the charter option, and more companies are expected to follow suit in the coming months.

As of Thursday, the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance had not yet received any other applications, but it’s fielded “a number of inquiries” on the charter, enough to prompt some reorganizing of the charter information on the department’s website, according to Bo Fears, the department’s senior deputy commissioner.

Based on that interest, “I would not be surprised at all to receive more applications in the next few quarters,” Fears said this week.

James Stevens, an Atlanta-based partner in Troutman Pepper’s financial services practice, echoed that sentiment. His firm has heard from legacy merchant acquiring companies in the past two weeks who are interested in applying for the charter, he said Monday. He also expects some companies are already working on applications.

Payment processor Fiserv has applied to obtain a merchant acquirer limited purpose bank charter in Georgia, the company confirmed earlier this month. The charter would enable Brookfield, Wisconsin-based Fiserv to authorize, settle and clear payment transactions for merchants, removing the need for a bank partner. Alpharetta, Georgia is among Fiserv’s major office locations.

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