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Mortgage Technology Provider Ponders HQ Move

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Financial technology company Fiserv Inc. is conducting an “evaluation” of its Brookfield, Wisconsin, corporate headquarters and considering locations for a new building in the metro Milwaukee area and possibly out of state.

Fiserv, which has about 850 employees in Brookfield, says it is taking a look at how its current offices fit in with its development into an international technology firm.

“We continually evaluate our global real estate portfolio, which includes 18 countries and more than 120 locations worldwide, to ensure that our workplace provides the best possible environment for our colleagues and our business,” Fiserv spokeswoman Britt Zarling said in an email. “This evaluation is now extending to our corporate headquarters in Brookfield.”

Zarling added, “During the next few months, we’ll be looking at how we might evolve our headquarters environment in alignment with our broader workplace strategy, brand and associate experience. As we are in the early stages of our exploration, there’s nothing more to share at this point.”

Zarling offered no details on the process.

However, Fiserv is listening to development proposals in Brookfield, Wauwatosa and Milwaukee for a new office building of 120,000 square feet or so that includes the type of collaborative spaces and modern layout today’s companies and employees want, the Journal Sentinel has learned.

Fiserv, which was founded in 1984, moved into its current three-story brick building at 255 Fiserv Drive in Brookfield in 1992.

Zarling, asked whether Brookfield or state officials could offer incentives that would keep Fiserv from moving, said, “Our legacy is in the greater Milwaukee area, and we are very open to any conversations and actions that would ultimately benefit our associates, clients and shareholders.”

Mark Maley, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., said the agency doesn’t comment on “pending or potential deals with companies.”

“We’re working to keep Fiserv in Brookfield,” said Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto, saying he didn’t want to comment beyond that.

The planned BMO Harris Financial Center in downtown Milwaukee is one possible location for a new Fiserv headquarters, according to a real estate industry source.

That 25-story office tower, to be built at 790 N. Water St., will house the future Milwaukee offices for BMO Harris Bank, and one of the city’s biggest law firms, Michael Best & Friedrich.

Last May, Fiserv raised some eyebrows when it held its annual shareholders meeting in Alpharetta, Georgia — the first time it was held outside Wisconsin. Its new facilities in Alpharetta consolidated six Atlanta-area locations, and the two adjacent buildings hold more than twice as many employees as the Brookfield headquarters. The Alpharetta site has room for expansion.

Alpharetta calls itself the “Technology City of the South,” and other important players in the payment technology industry, such as First Data, Global Payments and Elavon, also are there.

Georgia has a lower corporate income tax. Wisconsin’s is 7.9 percent; Georgia’s is 6 percent.

“We have not made a commitment to any state to locate our headquarters, including Georgia,” Zarling said.

Zarling said Fiserv has more than 23,000 employees and more than 120 locations worldwide, and fewer than 4 percent of its employees are in Brookfield.

This year’s annual shareholders meeting, scheduled for May 24, will be back at the company’s Brookfield headquarters.

Fiserv was formed by the merger of First Data Processing and Sunshine State Systems in 1984, with George Dalton and Les Muma as founding partners. Muma succeeded Dalton as chief executive, and was followed as CEO in 2005 by Jeffery Yabuki.

Fiserv, which had revenue of about $5.5 billion in 2016, provides technology for banks, credit unions and others.

Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel contributed to this report.

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