New Jack Henry CEO Looks to Credit Cards, Acquisitions for Growth

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / bashtaFinancial technology firm Jack Henry & Associates will soon have a new CEO — but it won’t be changing its culture.

The CEO-to-be is Dave Foss, no stranger to the company — he’s been at JHA for 18 years, most recently as president, a role he will retain as CEO. In July, he will replace the long-serving Jack Prim, who will then become executive chairman after leading the company since 1995. Prior to serving as president of Jack Henry, Foss was president of the company’s ProfitStars division.

Jack Henry will look to expand its footprint in credit cards and look into some acquisitions on his watch, Foss told Bank Innovation last week.

“We’re not looking at a major change in focus or direction in 2016,” Foss said. “We want to enhance what we’re working on.”

And what is Jack Henry working on? For one thing, its Banno unit, headed up by fintech wunderkind Wade Arnold, will continue to roll out innovative online and mobile experiences. This includes the responsive advertising made possible by Banno’s marketing software, formerly known as Kernel. Skills and technology from Banno have steadily made their way into Jack Henry’s other services, Foss said.

Payments will be another areas of focus, and with good reason — “38% of our revenue comes from payments,” Foss said. He cited credit cards as a major area of opportunity. “We’re a minor player in credit cards right now, ” he said. “But a lot of mid-tier banks want to move forward with the idea of cords.” This would represent as return to earlier days, before the largest banks dominated card issuance so completely. And smaller banks will look to vendors like Jack Henry for ideas in how to get back into cards a creative, constructive way.

Foss also said acquisition would be on Jack Henry’s roadmap in 2016. “We haven’t been shy about acquisitions,” he said. “We’ve acquired 23 companies in 10 years. We’re acquisitive.” But recently, the company has tempered its acquisitiveness. “We weren’t seeing the things we really wanted to bring new solutions to customers.” Look for that to change under Foss.

“We’re constantly looking at early stage companies,” he said, but noted that the company tends to find more mature companies a better fit, because they can “help move the needle more quickly; but we’re patient. We will look at moves that may not bring immediate revenue.” But with so many startups out there and the explosion of interest by entrepreneurs in fintech, the landscape has certainly gotten more complex, with more companies to consider. “The challenge is weeding through,” Foss said.

Startups are great, but the core of Jack Henry’s business, which employs more than 6,000 employees and is based in Monett, Mo., is, well, core processing.

“We’re working on improving the user interaction with the core system,” he said. “This is not just mobile and tablet devices; it’s new technology that makes a more robust experience for users in-branch.We also have a very robust middleware solution to enable connections to the core. Our philosophy is to make our core as easy to connect to as possible.”

When he assumes the CEO role, Foss is particularly concerned to retain Jack Henry’s culture, which he views as a strength and differentiator.

“I am continually told that the way we do things at Jack Henry is different,” he said.

Jack Henry & Associates has a market capitalization of $6 billion.

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