By Art Gillis
Every bank tech salesperson will yes you to death. The CFO is well versed at saying "NO." He says no to his own people as well, like when a salesperson is working on a big deal and wants to slash the price just to get the sale.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting several CFOs at the major bank tech companies. Fiserv has had one who has served from Day One and retired recently. When I was called in as an independent voice during a due diligence meeting, I made a comment about Fiserv's superb M&A activity, saying Fiserv had achieved a perfect record of buying solid companies. I felt an elbow in my ribs delivered by Fiserv's CFO who said, "Art, we had one sour one."
I have known two CFO's at Jack Henry & Associates. I once said that when these guys make their presentations to the securities analysts, it sounds like they're reading from the Bible. Even the bad stuff comes out. Metavante's CFO is the only one with a sense of humor, even though it's one that you have to hunt for to get it. I always get a good night's sleep before I go one-on-one with Mike. I have always trusted technology that was never politically correct. Give it to me straight, and I will handle whatever comes. Wouldn't it be great if the CIA followed the culture of bank tech vendor CFOs?