Southeastern Wisconsin financial service industry news
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Wisconsin banks report lower earnings
November 25, 2014 10:46 AM
Wisconsin banks reported combined net income of $726 million through the end of the third quarter, down from $736 million year-to-date in the third quarter of 2013, according to the Quarterly Banking Profile released today by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Read more in the BizTracker.

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Associated Bank to launch Apple Pay
November 25, 2014 10:14 AM
Green Bay-based Associated Bank plans to launch Apple Pay services for its debit card customers in mid-December.

The bank currently offers the mobile payment service on its Associated Bank branded credit cards and is in the certification and testing process for the debit cards.

With Apple Pay, users upload credit or debit cards to their devices, and the device is then used to pay instead of the card. The Apple device and servers do not store the card number, but rather a unique, encrypted device account number. A one-time dynamic security code is generated for each transaction. And if the device is compromised, the information can be remotely erased.

The process, known as tokenization, has been gaining steam among payment providers and financial institutions because of its added security and ease of use. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank and Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, which also have several Milwaukee market branches, have implemented the technology as well.

Customer demand for the new technology is high, said Brent Tischler, director of payments and direct channels at Associated Bank.

“We have, like many issuers, placed an ‘Apple Pay coming soon’ banner on our public website,” Tischler said. “We’ve gotten thousands of hits on that coming soon banner. Our call center, as well as our branches, were getting a lot of customer inquiries if Associated Bank was going to participate.”

Associated Bank is shaping a culture of innovation and has jumped into the Apple Pay space sooner than it might have adopted new technologies in the past, he said.

“It’s really going to be kind of the blueprint for e-commerce going forward from a security standpoint,” Tischler said. “All of the tokenization, digitization, encryption, it creates among the most secure payments possible for our customers and that’s certainly something that’s important for us, as well as privacy.”

It’s too soon to tell what adoption rates are like among Associated customers, but the bank expects it will be a compelling solution for them, he said.

Bank customers must an iPhone 6 to use Apple Pay, which can be implemented through an iTunes account or through the Passbook app.

The merchant must also offer near field communication or contactless payment. So far, about 2 to 3 percent of retailers have done so at the point of sale, but Tischler said the trajectory of acceptance continues to accelerate.

“We expect I would say a growing and accelerating shift to mobile payments, but it’s still not going to be the primary channel for some time,” he said. “We are taking a very broad and holistic view to the digital payment network and environment. We believe while Apple Pay will likely emerge as one of the winners in this space, we believe it’s not going to be the only winner.”

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Fiserv announces Popmoney charity campaign
November 25, 2014 10:17 AM
Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc. has launched a Season of Giving campaign to donate to charity each time someone makes a person-to-person payment.

Season of Giving will benefit Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit Good360, which takes in seasonal or obsolete product donations from retailers and distributes them to more than 40,000 charities, schools and libraries.

The campaign will contribute $1 for each Popmoney personal payment at a participating financial institution to Good360 until Dec. 31. There are almost 200 banks and credit unions participating nationwide.

“This Season of Giving campaign will help unleash nearly $1.5 million in product donations to help improve people’s lives,” said Cindy Hallberlin, president and CEO of Good360. “Every $1 donated to Good360 allows us to distribute an average of $30 worth of essential products. Popmoney users will be giving a lot of good this holiday season, and we’re incredibly grateful for this partnership.”

Popmoney is a tool consumers can use to send and receive money from friends, families and others they know through participating banks’ accounts. It is often used for sharing rent, splitting bills and for monetary gifts, which is why Fiserv launched it during the holiday season.

“With giving back at the top of mind for many Americans during the holiday season, we felt this was the ideal time to make it possible for people to give money by sending money,” said Tom Roberts, senior vice president of marketing, Electronic Payments, Fiserv. “The nearly 200 banks and credit unions participating in the Season of Giving are providing people with one more compelling reason to use Popmoney.”

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Annex Wealth Management to open Delafield office
November 25, 2014 10:35 AM
Elm Grove-based Annex Wealth Management LLC plans to open an office in the Lake Country area in western Waukesha County. The firm is in negotiations to lease 3,200 square feet of office space in the Purity Building at 2301 Sun Valley Drive in Delafield.

This would be the third office for Annex Wealth Management. The firm opened a Mequon office about a year ago.

Existing clients in the western part of the region are urging Annex Wealth Management to add an office in the Lake Country area and the firm sees additional under-served demand in that area, said chief executive officer and president Dave Spano.

“Existing clients are asking us to move further west,” he said. “There’s demand from our client base that extends as far west as Madison.”

The firm’s Lake Country office will have eight employees. Annex currently has 53 employees company-wide, Spano said.

Annex also plans to open an office in the Appleton area, he said.

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Management team acquires Arandell Corp.
November 25, 2014 10:21 AM
Arandell Corp., a Menomonee Falls-based provider catalog printing and omni-channel solutions, announced that board chairman Don Treis and his family have sold the company to president Brad Hoffman and other members of firm's management team.

“We are excited to build on Arandell’s strong reputation for extraordinarily high quality and service, while creating new opportunities for growth for the company, our customers and our employees,” Hoffman said. “We’ve already seen some of that success in the last year, and we look forward to even more in the years ahead.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Over the past seven years, the Treis family prepared for a possible transition in ownership to a management team. The family selected Hoffman, who brought in the current leadership team and worked collaboratively with the family to develop and implement a succession plan.

“Arandell has been an important part of our family for the past 66 years,” Treis said. “We are proud of the strong business we’ve built over the last seven decades. We know that we are leaving it in great hands with Brad and the rest of the management team. They share our passion for the people of Arandell and its customers, which is why I’m confident they will continue to grow the company and create new opportunities for our customers and employees.”

Founded in 1922, Arandell provides high-quality pre-media, catalog printing, mailing, distribution, list management, database marketing, mobile solutions, logistics and consulting services to its partners in the retail and direct mail catalog markets.

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Zizzo Group acquires Clear Verve Marketing
November 25, 2014 10:27 AM
Zizzo Group, a Milwaukee-based integrated marketing firm, has acquired Clear Verve Marketing, an Elm Grove-based content and business-to-business marketing agency.

The acquisition Zizzo Group’s fifth in its 20-year history and one of several strategic moves the company has planned as it rolls out its new conversation marketing practice. The new practice works with companies to proactively facilitate conversations with customers, delivering messages through storytelling and interactive content across websites, online reviews, social media and friends.

Clear Verve Marketing, whose clients include Alverno College, CH Coakley & Company and Investor’s Bank, will continue to provide the same core services to its existing clients while offering expanded capabilities of ZG’s public relations, social media, web development and media buying services and its new Conversation Marketing Practice.

“Word-of-mouth recommendations top the list of how consumers now make decisions. Companies who harness the power of conversation marketing will turn brand believers into evangelists – sparking and maintaining conversations and engagement that drive consumer preference,” said Anne Zizzo, president and chief executive officer of Zizzo Group.

Christina Steder, former president and CEO of Clear Verve Marketing, will join Zizzo Group as vice president of integrated marketing, leading the integrated marketing practice area.

“Coming together with Zizzo Group seems to be a natural move that provides expanded services and depth to our clients, and will allow me the opportunity to lead a part of a larger organization and focus on my core competencies,” Steder said.

Also joining Zizzo Group will be Jackie Costa, account executive and Susan Schoultz, graphic designer.

The merged company is based in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward at 207 N. Milwaukee St.

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Gener8tor raises $2 million
November 25, 2014 10:31 AM
Startup accelerator gener8tor, which has locations in Milwaukee and Madison, has raised a $2.2 million fund, according to an SEC filing.

The fund is administered by Madison-based gener8tor Fund II LLC and managed by Troy Vosseller, Joe Kirgues and Dan Armbrust.

The funds were raised beginning on Nov. 4, with outside investors contributing a minimum of $25,000. There have been 18 total investors in the offering.

Five new startups were chosen from among 450 applicants for the fifth gener8tor program in July. The 12-week program, which aims to train entrepreneurs leading high-tech business ventures, provided an initial $20,000 cash investment and each company received another $50,000 in follow-on investment from gener8tor and investment partners Angels on the Water and Wisconsin Investment Partners.

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Brady earnings down on sales mix, plant consolidation
November 25, 2014 10:38 AM
Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. reported fiscal 2015 first quarter net earnings of $13.6 million, or 25 cents per share, down from $24 million, or 44 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

Revenue was $310.2 million, up from $307.5 million in the same period a year ago. While foreign currency translation decreased sales 1.5 percent, total organic sales increased 2.4 percent.

Brady, which makes identification solutions including labels, signs and printing systems, attributed the earnings decline to a challenging sales mix and costs associated with plant consolidation.

“We were encouraged by our revenue growth in the first quarter, which marks the third consecutive quarter of organic sales growth,” said J. Michael Nauman, Brady president and chief executive officer. “Although we had organic sales growth, we continued to incur costs related to the consolidation of our manufacturing facilities and have been experiencing challenges in terms of sales mix. We have scaled back our facility consolidation efforts and our remaining facility consolidation activities will be executed in a manner that will allow us to maintain the highest service levels and least disruptions to our customers while still achieving efficiency gains over the long run. We expect to incur additional incremental costs from these facility consolidation activities in the near-term and expect to complete our facility consolidation activities by July 31, 2015. We are focused on executing business fundamentals to drive organic sales growth and improve profitability while investing in research and development, focusing on selected markets to drive organic growth, and building an improved, scalable digital platform that will generate value for Brady and its customers.”

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Molly Dill This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Molly Dill. This bulletin is published every Tuesday morning. Send financial services industry news and tips to or call her at (414) 336-7144.

Additional Resources

» Wisconsin Association of Accountants
» Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
» Wisconsin Association for Financial Professionals

Financial Institutions

» Wisconsin Bankers Association
» The Wisconsin Credit Union League
» Community Bankers of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association

Financial Planning

» Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin
» National Association of Personal Financial Advisors


» Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

Mergers & Acquisitions

» Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries
» Association for Corporate Growth - Wisconsin
» Turnaround Management Association - Chicago/Midwest

Other Resources

» Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
» Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association

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