Fiserv, Inc. (FISV) CEO Jeff Yabuki on Q1 2019 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

About: Fiserv, Inc. (FISV)
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Earning Call Audio

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV) Q1 2019 Results Earnings Conference Call April 30, 2019 5:00 PM ET

Company Participants

Tiffany Willis - VP of IR

Jeff Yabuki - CEO

Bob Hau - CFO

Conference Call Participants

Dave Koning - Baird

Darrin Peller - Wolfe Research

Damian Wille - Barclays

Jim Schneider - Goldman Sachs

Brett Huff - Stephens Incorporated

Jeff Cantwell - Guggenheim Securities

Allison Jordan - Cowen and Company

Matt O'Neill - Autonomous Research

Drew Kootman - Cantor Fitzgerald

Bryan Keane - Deutsche Bank

Andrew Jeffrey - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

Kartik Mehta - Northcoast Research


Welcome to the Fiserv 2019 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in a listen-only mode until the question-and-answer session begins following the presentation. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded.

At this time, I will turn the call over to Tiffany Willis, Vice President of Investor Relations at Fiserv.

Tiffany Willis

Thank you, and good afternoon. With me today for the call are Jeff Yabuki, our Chief Executive Officer; and Bob Hau, our Chief Financial Officer. Please note that our earnings release and supplemental presentation for the quarter are available on the Investor Relations section of

Our remarks today will include forward-looking statements about, among other matters, expected operating and financial results, strategic initiatives and the anticipated combinations with First Data, including expected benefits, financial projections, synergies, financing and timing of and the ability to complete the transaction. Forward-looking statements may materially differ from actual results and are subject to a number of risk and uncertainties. Please refer to our earnings release for a discussion of these risk factors.

You should also refer to our materials for today's call for an explanation of the non-GAAP financial measures discussed in this call, along with the reconciliation of those measures to the nearest applicable GAAP measure. These non-GAAP measures are indicators that management uses to provide additional meaningful comparisons between current results and prior reported results and as a basis for planning and forecasting for future periods. Unless stated otherwise, performance references made throughout this call are assumed to be year-over-year comparisons.

As a reminder, prior-year adjusted earnings and adjusted earnings per share amounts in the press release, supplemental materials and comments are adjusted for the sale of a majority interest of our lending solutions business, which closed in March 2018.

And with that let me turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeff Yabuki

Thanks Tiffany, and good afternoon everyone.

Our financial performance carried the momentum of last year into the first quarter, highlighted by 5% internal revenue growth and 12% adjusted earnings per share growth. We also followed the record sales in last year's Q4 with one of our highest first quarter sales totals ever, further validating the demand for our market-leading solutions. Our better-than-anticipated start to the year has us well positioned to achieve our full year financial commitments.

In addition to serving clients, engaging associates and delivering strong financial results, we are also focused on integration planning for our First Data combination. Along those lines, shareholders overwhelmingly approved with more than 99% support the issuance of Fiserv shares in connection with the merger.

As you know, we received the second request for information on our transaction from the Department of Justice and are working cooperatively to achieve clearance. We continue to believe the transaction will be approved, business divestitures will not be required and we will close in the second half of the year, all completely consistent with our original expectations.

Upon close, our number one priority is to provide even more differentiated value to clients of all shapes, sizes and industries. For example, we've made great progress in identifying ways to further enable the offerings of community-based financial institutions and the variety of customers they serve. We see a number of client and customer advantages, which we will further evaluate upon closing to determine the absolute best way to bring these to market.

The integration planning teams are working well together across multiple work streams centered on delivering incremental client and shareholder value, ensuring we have the best talent and identifying ways to sustainably exceed our synergy targets of $500 million of recurring annual revenue and $900 million of run rate cost benefits. We have a shared desire to advance the market and to redefine the way in which payment and FinTech services will be delivered.

Along those lines, we also announced a commitment to invest in incremental $0.5 billion in solution innovation on top of the significant investments each of our companies make today. We expect this investment to create multiple sources of client and customer value, which should lead to even stronger results, none of which has been incorporated in our financial projections.

With that let's review performance against our 2019 key shareholder priorities, which are first to continue to build high quality revenue, while meeting our earnings commitments; next to enhance client relationships with an emphasis on digital and payment solutions and third to deliver innovation and integration, which enables differentiated value for our clients.

As I mentioned, we are pleased with our strong financial results in the quarter, including 5% internal revenue growth, led by 6% internal growth in the financial segment and 4% in the payments segment. We saw good performance in the quarter across our recurring revenue businesses along with some acceleration of license revenue in the financial segment.

First quarter adjusted earnings per share was up 12% over the prior year due to higher revenue growth, better-than-planned adjusted operating margin and some benefit from lower taxes. The change in adjusted operating margin was primarily from a combination of ramp in client implementations, carryover from last year's tax reinvestment programs and dilution related to acquisitions and divestitures, all of which, Bob will discuss in more detail.

These investments are focused on driving additional client value and should contribute to a continuing step up in our internal revenue growth rate over the next several years. Free cash flow conversion of 90% was generally consistent with our expectations for the quarter and the full year, given the cadence of expected investments throughout 2019.

Our second priority is to enhance client relationships with an emphasis on digital and payments solutions. As you will recall last quarter, we signed the largest new account processing client in our history, adding New York Community Bank with over $50 billion of assets. We continue to focus on growing our core account processing client base, signing 14 institutions in the quarter, including six on our market leading Premier platform.

Also during the quarter, Aite Group issued its US core banking system evaluation, which named Fiserv as the sole best in class provider. This is based on a robust evaluation of all qualified market participants and is primarily based on vendor strength, market reputation and breadth of product portfolio. We are very pleased with this award and recognition.

We also signed six DNA clients in the quarter with four having assets greater than $1 billion, including a competitive takeaway of Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union with $3.2 billion in assets who selected DNA, along with several important surround solutions.

We also completed seven new client implementations in the quarter. I expect that total to build throughout the year. Increasing digital engagement with customers remains a top priority for financial institutions. Along those lines, Mobiliti ASP subscribers grew nearly 20% in the quarter to just under 8.5 million. Importantly, the average app store rating for this multi-institution solution, a critical barometer of digital experience, has now achieved average star rating of 4.7 out of 5.

These strong results reflect our commitment to digital differentiation and enhanced user experience and expanded features such as integrated notifications, card controls and enhanced biometrics. We continue to see meaningful opportunities to help clients increase their revenue through expanded debit, credit and network programs.

We signed 21 clients in the quarter, including Atlanta Postal Credit Union with over $2.1 billion in assets, which selected both debit and credit card processing to service their more than 100,000 members across the United States. Atlanta Postal Credit Union, who is not a core account processing client, also selected our credit advisory subscription service to provide additional support across their account and fraud management process.

Our third priority is to deliver innovation and integration which enables differentiated value for our clients. Building on Q4's momentum, we continued to see clients select Fiserv as the market continues its move towards meaningful payments innovation. In a competitive process, a top 35 banks selected Dovetail, our leading payment hub technology, to meet their evolving commercial and international business needs.

We expect to see payments modernization continue for the next three to five years and believe our growing position as a front to back payments provider creates opportunities to create unique network value for our clients.

In addition to payments, we're seeing growing traction in our commercial digital solutions as banks look to enhance the services to their most important customers. Commercial Center, which we acquired a couple of years ago, has added nearly 50 new institutional clients due to their market leading functionality and capabilities.

In fact, we had eight clients go live in the first quarter alone and the pipeline remains very strong. Another example of commercial services growth can be seen in our Mobiliti business commercial digital solution.

Financial institution clients grew 24% year-over-year and the number of end business clients utilizing the service was up a very strong 65% over the prior year and 11% sequentially. We expect the digitization of commercial services to drive important value for clients and enhanced revenue growth for us.

Our enthusiasm and commitment for Zelle continues to expand not just in terms of our clients, but for the market as a whole. We believe the network benefits of Zelle will enhance the service's financial institutions delivered to their customers. First Citizens Bank, with over $35 billion in assets, selected Zelle in a competitive replacement. This replacement decision was driven in part by their ability to utilize our value-added Zelle fraud and risk management capabilities. We also signed a leading online financial services provider to our turnkey Zelle solution in the quarter. We expect to meaningfully expand our Zelle leadership position this year as the market more fully embraces this important opportunity.

With that let me turn the call over to Bob to provide more detail on our financial results.

Bob Hau

Thank you, Jeff and good afternoon everyone.

As shared upfront, we're pleased with the start of the year, driving results ahead of our internal expectations. Adjusted revenue, which includes the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, grew 5% in the quarter to $1.4 billion with internal revenue growth up a strong 5% as well. We saw solid execution across many of our businesses in the quarter, along with some timing benefits of license revenue in the financial segment.

Overall termination fees in the quarter were essentially flat. First quarter adjusted operating income increased 3% to $457 million and was negatively impacted by the lending transaction. Adjusted operating margin was down 60 basis points to 31.9% in the quarter.

Margin performance, which was actually ahead of our plan, included more than 60 basis points of pressure from higher client implementation costs in our digital and payment solutions and some carryover of the expenses originated from the 2018 tax reinvestment program. We also had a 20 basis point headwind from acquisitions in the lending transaction in the quarter.

These results were fully anticipated and incorporated in our adjusted operating margin guidance of at least 50 basis points expansion for the year. Adjusted earnings per share was up 12% to $0.84 compared to the prior year. This strong start positions us well to achieve our 34th consecutive year of double-digit adjusted EPS growth.

Our payments segment adjusted revenue grew 10% in the first quarter to $845 million, which includes the Elan debit processing acquisition. Internal revenue growth was up 4% over the prior year, led by electronic payments, card services and biller solutions.

Our segment growth rate was a bit lower in the quarter due primarily to the timing and mix of card services revenue, which we expect will reverse later this year. Importantly, debit transaction growth remains strong in the high-single digits for the quarter. And we expect the payment segment internal revenue growth rate to accelerate for the balance of the year.

The integration of the Elan debit processing acquisition is progressing very well. In addition to serving clients were seeing early traction in revenue synergy opportunities such as ATM managed services and Money Pass, our expanded surcharge free ATM network. Elan's result will be incorporated in our internal revenue growth calculation beginning in November. Adjusted operating income for the payments segment grew 6% to $287 million in adjusted operating margin was down 140 basis points to 34% in the quarter.

Segment margin performance was negatively impacted by more than 150 basis points from increased implementations and investment costs, business mix and compression from Elan acquisition. As the tax reinvestment projects roll off and implementations come on line in the second half of the year, we expect segment adjusted operating margin performance to improve.

Mobiliti ASP subscribers grew nearly 20% in the quarter to just under 8.5 million as consumers continue to reinforce the importance of the mobile channel. In addition, Architect, one of our newer solutions, which delivers a unified experience across all-digital channels, continues to gain traction.

We have signed nearly 70 clients in this platform since the acquisition. And after achieving the 50% subscriber growth in 2018, we expect to nearly double the number of architect digital subscribers this year. P2P transactions, which include both Popmoney and Zelle were up 100% versus the prior year quarter. And Zelle transactions alone nearly quadrupled versus last year. We expect to bring a significant number of new Zelle clients live this year and even more acceleration in 2020.

We continue to focus on enabling our clients to navigate deals evolving payments market. Adjusted revenue in the financial segment was down 3% to $598 million for the quarter due solely to lending divestiture which anniversaried in March. Internal revenue growth was a very strong 6% in the quarter, led by strength in our core account and item processing businesses, along with the timing benefit to license revenue in the quarter.

As you may recall, we had a disproportionately high periodic revenue in last year's Q2, which will provide the basis for a tough compare in this year's second quarter. Adjusted operating margin in the financial segment was down slightly to $199 million due to the lending transaction. Adjusted operating margin expanded 50 basis points to 33.3% due to growth in recurring revenue and the timing benefit of license revenue offset somewhat by higher product investments.

Overall, we're very pleased with the financial segment performance in the quarter. The adjusted corporate operating loss was in line with our expectations and the prior year at $29 million for the quarter. The adjusted effective tax rate was better than expectations at just under 16%.

We had a timing benefit of about $0.02 in the quarter due to some anticipated discrete tax items which favorably impacted our adjusted effective tax rate. And we continue to expect our adjusted effective tax rate for the year to be between 22% and 23%. Free cash flow was $302 million down 4%, following a very strong Q4 and also reflects the negative net impact of acquisitions and divestitures for the quarter.

Free cash flow conversion of 90% was pressured primarily by the timing of working capital expenditures and negative working capital, which includes timing of commission payments related to a very strong Q4. Looking ahead, we continue to expect our free cash flow conversion to be at least 105% for the year as CapEx normalizes and timing of working capital reverses.

We repurchased 1.6 million shares in the quarter, returning $120 million to our shareholders prior to announcing the First Data transaction. We had 392 million shares outstanding with 24 million shares remaining authorized for repurchase at quarter end. And as announced, we have deferred our share repurchase program until the transaction closes. Total debt outstanding as of March 31 was down to $5.9 billion and our debt-to-adjusted EBITDA was 2.6 times.

With that let me turn the call back to Jeff.

Jeff Yabuki

Thanks Bob.

As we mentioned upfront, sales momentum has been excellent and we are well positioned to meet or exceed our sales target for the year. Importantly next week we will host a record number of clients and prospects at our annual event Fiserv Forum, which we expect will create additional opportunities throughout the year. We followed our record fourth quarter sales performance with one of our best first quarter totals ever, which also translated to a 10% increase over last year. We saw strength across a number of areas including account processing, card solutions, output solutions and Dovetail.

Our domestic pipeline is higher than last year and we are confident we will achieve our sales goals. Integrated sales in the quarter was down slightly after a very strong fourth quarter and as is typical, we expect integrated sales to build throughout the year and that we will again achieve our full year objective.

We continue to demonstrate our strong operational effectiveness muscle as we look to close out a five-year $250 million program a full year early. Our first quarter results are on track achieving $12 million of savings across multiple areas against our $50 million target for the full year.

Before we wrap, let me provide some perspective on the environment. We've seen a significant amount of M&A this year in both technology providers and financial institutions, which we generally expect will continue. The prevailing themes appear centered on scale investment capacity and innovation.

From our perspective, we believe the First Data combination, provides the differentiated solutions, investment capacity and necessary scale to partner for the long-term across the evolving financial and payments landscape. We're seeing platform investments at digital enablement, security and payments all taking lion's share. Market participants are evolving, competitiveness for core deposits remains very high and stakes are rising for digitally enabled retail and commercial services.

Last, we're seeing a slow but steady number of de novo applications and approvals of which we have won half since early 2018 and expect a number of these new institutions to be more technologically savvy than in the past. However, these trends - overall these trends remain aligned with our strategic focus and further positions your Company for long-term success.

As for guidance, we're on track to achieve our financial commitments for the year. We expect our full year internal revenue growth rate to be in a range of 4.5% to 5% with higher growth in the second half of the year. We continue to expect adjusted earnings per share to increase between 10% and 14% in a range of $3.39 to $3.52 for the year.

Although we don't provide quarterly guidance, it's important to remind you that we had very high periodic revenue in last year's Q2, which will create a difficult compare this year. As such, we anticipate the second quarter will be the low watermark for both internal revenue and adjusted EPS growth with strong acceleration into the back half of the year.

We also expect adjusted operating margin for the year to expand by at least 50 basis points and that free cash flow conversion will be more than 105%. Lastly, our guidance does not include, or anticipate any impact from the First Data transaction. We're pleased with our start to the year, delivering strong financial and sales results, while investing in the strategic solutions of your Company. We are bullish about the significant number of opportunities to deliver client and market differentiation, while building meaningful incremental shareholder value through the First Data combination.

Lastly, let me thank the 24,000 Fiserv associates around the world who worked tirelessly to serve our clients with excellence and purpose each day. You are the great differentiator that has powered us to success for the last 35 years and will move us forward well into the future.

With that, let's open the line for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Dave Koning of Baird. Your line is now open.

David Koning

Congrats to the First Data team, it was as a great quarter too. And I guess, first of all just - you talked a little bit about the - I'm sorry the payments segment was a little weaker in Q1, you talked about mix. And I'm just - and I think you maybe talked about processing days and maybe Easter like there were some things that happened I think across the payments landscape. Is that a little bit what happened and why you think growth will accelerate the rest of the year?

Bob Hau

So from a segment margin standpoint or a growth rate standpoint, you're asking?

David Koning

Yes, from a growth rate standpoint.

Bob Hau

Yes. So it was a little bit lighter than what we've seen over the last few quarters came in at about 4%. One of the keys that we pointed out in the opening remarks is that the underlying debit volume was high-single digits. So consistent with what we've seen, there was a bit of timing around some payment merchant and card fees that we expect to get in the latter part or the rest of this year and so we do think it was largely timing and it will come back on a full year basis and provide typical meaningful growth for us on a full year basis.

Jeff Yabuki

And Dave as you know, you always have the day-to-day comparisons each year and with Easter falling where it did this year versus last, you always have those things that obviously will work themselves out throughout the year.

David Koning

And then I guess the second thing is the margins, you did a nice job kind of laying out some of the headwinds that hit Q1. Maybe you could talk about what the underlying growth in Q1 is and if you expect margins to go up, I think each of the remaining three quarters, is that fair to say?

Jeff Yabuki

So Dave, let me start with and then Bob can certainly add in. I would say that you know as between the divestitures and the acquisitions that we've laid in some of the tax-oriented investments. I think Bob indicated in his prepared remarks that it was more than 150 basis points in the payments segment along. We had some growth in the financial segment. So if you think about it in the area of 100-ish basis points, I think that gives you a comparative sense.

We also said, in our remarks, we had very high periodic revenue last year in Q2. I actually think we'll have a hard time getting over that mountain in Q2. So, we'll have a little bit of degradation again and then have a bunch of growth coming in the second half of the year, when the tax program reinvestments abate, the implementations come on line. The investments begin to abate and the periodic revenue is more normalized.


Our next question comes from the line of Darrin Peller of Wolfe Research. Your line is now open.

Darrin Peller

Let me just start in terms of feedback from clients now been at least a few months obviously, any incremental color that has given you more conviction or different confidence around the synergies -- the revenue synergies potential on the deal? And then -- and Jeff the First Data results were strong. I mean was that kind of run rate in your plan as well in terms of just the type of growth?

Jeff Yabuki

So the - let me take the first question. And we had talked a little bit on our Q4 call about the positive impressions and the positive responses that we were getting from the market and certainly that's continued. And we've been able to begin working together on our integration planning and putting specific energy on both the cost side and on the revenue side.

And in fact, on the revenue side, based on a combination of the ideas and the focus that we have or that we've built as part of the acquisition process, but also in taking end market feedback, we actually have 10 teams of people across both companies focused on more than 40 discrete areas of revenue opportunity, ways to deliver client value that will turn into revenue for us, which is actually broader than we anticipated we would be at this stage.

Now clearly not all 40 of them are going to turn right now, but there is a lot of really interesting ideas that teams are putting together and we'll have plenty to pursue as we get through closing and begin to work together, but it's really been quite positive from that perspective.

Darrin Peller

And then just on the First Data side, I mean again the trends seem sound as well there I mean is that in line with what you would have expected I guess?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes, I think, I mean Darrin - what I would say is I would point back to the original call that we did in January where we said we don't think the market fully understands and embraces First Data, the performance that Frank and his team have put together and the fact that this is a good solid growing business with great market share and great products and great opportunity. So, we feel good about those results, and we're excited to get the closing and begin working together.

Darrin Peller

Just very quick follow-up. Digital banking in general, I mean, it still seems to be a big driver for you guys as, I mean, has that still been showing the acceleration, the kind of driver you saw last couple of quarters. Anything change in that front that you could call out or I mean to us it's an area of focus that we think the whole industry is potentially reaching inflection on further?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes Darrin obviously you're fan of that and you're doing - you've done a lot of work. One of the things that you heard in our prepared comments is often when we talk about digital, we end up talking about retail and we're seeing just as much focus, frankly, if not more focus on the business and commercial side of the house and it's one of the reasons why we're quite excited about Clover and some of the other merchant capabilities within First Data because we think the intersection of those capabilities and digital enablement will create a very attractive commercial and small business solution that will allow banks to - our client banks to compete in a more fulsome way.

So I think you're exactly right. That's going to continue. And I also like the intersection of digital commercial services and payments modernization.


Our next question comes from the line of Ramsey El-Assal of Barclays. Your line is now open.

Damian Wille

This is Damian Wille on for Ramsey. So I guess maybe on D&A, good to see you guys six new more wins this quarter and obviously last quarter with the big win on the larger asset size institution. Maybe if you could just kind of profile what the pipeline looks like there and the size of the institutions that you're looking at?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes, I mean, it continues to be quite strong. We had mentioned in Q4 that we've been slowly and intentionally moving up the ladder of asset size and so we think once we get New York Community Bank live that will be a fantastic proof point of not just D&A but the full differentiated surround suite that we can deliver, whether it is Dovetail, commercial center, mobility, all of the other fraud risk products that go into the solution. We think that will be a strong message.

So the pipeline reflects the growing interest. I also talked a little bit in my environmental comments about platform decisions. Clearly, we're seeing the market recognize the need to move to real-time, or at least consider moving to real-time and when major decisions are being contemplated we tend to be in the mix.

We certainly don't always win, but we're in there, and we're fighting and one of the things that we talked about today is Aite gave us the best-in-class core provider designation, the only one of any U.S. provider, and again we think that recognizes the combination of the strength of the company, the strength of the client base and the strength of the platforms.

Damian Wille

And maybe I think I know the answer to this question, but is there any update that you can give us on the approval process from the regulator, specifically on the second request, maybe any color on what they're focused on and just in general, the approval process there?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes, I mean, like I said - like we said in the prepared remarks, we are working cooperatively with the Department of Justice to secure the necessary HSR approval. There has been nothing in the process to-date, which is inconsistent with our original expectations. We said today, we still believe we will close in the second half of the year. We don't expect any divestitures of our businesses, and we believe we will get through this in a manner, again consistent with our original beliefs, I believe.


Our next question comes from the line of Jim Schneider of Goldman Sachs. Your line is now open.

Jim Schneider

It's good to see the sales momentum continuing on the client side. But maybe you could provide us an update, Jeff, just in terms of where client, their heads are at in terms of overall spending priorities, maybe just talk about whether you're seeing any kind of further acceleration or urgency, especially among some of your smaller bank clients. And then maybe on the flip side of things, how are people viewing the BB&T SunTrust merger in terms of the overall backdrop and wanting to accelerate technology spending or maybe put a hold on it?

Jeff Yabuki

So I would say from a perspective of the market overall, we're continuing to see a focus in digital security payments. We're seeing a more holistic view of the implications of broader platform investments. So that's absolutely happening with the energy on Zelle that is a another proof point around payments modernization. So we've got all of that going on.

There's really a fight for deposits. And so even areas such as bill pay, which haven't gotten attention over the last number of years, there is an absolute understanding that your primary bill pay account is the one that carries the majority deposits. So you're seeing new solutions get chosen out of the basket to try to make sure that banks are winning the funding game.

And so that's gotten energy and attention and we think that will level, absolutely continue to happen. So -- and then also on the commercial side, just making sure that it's not just retail digital but commercial digital as well.

As it relates to BB&T and SunTrust I mean we've heard this half a number of times where large banks have gotten together and said we need scale, we need the capacity to invest and that is sending the message across the landscape. Most of that gets allocated not into the back office, but into the front office and to client facing solutions, again, digital payments and some of the platform solutions.

Also, the whole area of risk and fraud continues to be important as fraudsters have had to go learn to go to different places. I think that's out there. And then the last thing I would throw out is we're starting to see a little bit of a crack in contactless, and so we have some level of comfort that, that our confidence, that we'll start to see contactless start to rise. We think the introduction in the sub -- the New York subway is important.

So the more acceptance that we see at that level the more we think that'll drive in contactless the idea actually links quite beautifully into digital and digital enablement.

Jim Schneider

And then maybe as a follow-up. Clearly, since you announced your combination with First Data, we've also seen the announced proposed transaction between FIS and Worldpay. Maybe comment on how, if at all that's changed your view of the competitive landscape, and how difficult or easy it will be to penetrate your bank clients with additional cross sell services going forward?

Jeff Yabuki

Sure. So listen, I think the real point here is that the markets are changing, and they're changing fast. And the providers who don't change run the risk of having their relevance diminish over time. And we believe that the combination with First Data gives us a far broader solution set than any other combination in the industry could have created because First Data is not just a merchant acquirer, but they are a the global leader in merchant acquiring.

They are the global leader in issuer processing and they have the incredible bench of data risk solutions, fraud solutions. There hasn't been a payment conversation in the last 50 years that hasn't included First Data somewhere in that combination.

So we are quite excited about the combination and what it brings, but we also recognize that there is a need to have more of this type of combination happen over time. Our goal was to lead that change and we absolutely believe we've done that.


Our next question comes from the line of Brett Huff of Stephens Incorporated. Your line is now open.

Brett Huff

Competitive question, there is more consolidation going in a smaller scale in the Biller Direct business. I think the number three share are looking to buy the number two share. How do you guys look at that, does that change the competitive dynamic or is it something that you've kind of seen coming for a while. Any update on that front?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes, I mean that - to your point that really is not - I mean there's been lots of FinTech - well funded FinTech players trying to grab that space. In the on-demand space where we compete we see much more focus from those kinds of players. It really just validates the opportunity that we see to bring it all together to get the kind of more robust forms of distribution out there. So not just the direct channel, but a bank channel, an ISP channel, which we think are quite important from those perspectives.

And then of course just continuing to build out the ecommerce capabilities. We think that combination the leadership positions that we both bring upon closing will allow us to do more than anyone else.

Brett Huff

That's great. And then another one. I recall that -- I mean several years ago, you guys talked about a launch of a combined payment product. I think it was Fiserv now?

Jeff Yabuki

In our network. Yes.

Brett Huff

And how does that fit in with the potential changes that may come from the First Data deal, is with that kind of a precursor of thinking about greater - dreaming a bigger dream that might combine - that kind of things you can do with Fiserv or how does that fit into the new product portfolio.

Jeff Yabuki

And Brett, I like the way I like the way you said dreaming of bigger dream that's - that to some extent encapsulates. The purpose of the Network was really to the function, a little bit like a super gateway and again we think that that what we didn't have the access to is really at scale direct down to the merchant. We have a lot of the back office, a lot of the DDA connectivity and so the opportunity.

One, there are any number of the 40 opportunities that have to do with, how you think about the movement of money in a real-time ecosystem and now we think will be a big part of the ultimate solution.


Our next question comes from the line of Jeff Cantwell of Guggenheim Securities. Your line is now open.

Jeff Cantwell

Jeff, can you maybe spot-check on the temperature of your financial institution clients on terms and how your conversations are going with them and how generally view with economic outcome next call it 12 months to 18 months, we heard a, we had one of your competitors talked about optimism some advisor showing as far as the outlook for the next 12 - call it 12 to 18 months, sounds very optimistic about budgets and spending on technology really about growth. I just want to see if you could talk a little bit about that.

Jeff Yabuki

Sure. We are obviously in lots of conversations and we're going to have an opportunity next week to talk with a record number of clients and prospects at our annual Fiserv Forum event. So we’ll certainly grab more feedback but the feedback that we're getting is there is opportunity out in the market, there is some, some belief that the beauty of the credit cycle probably will start to feel pressure at some point but that is offset by this real focus on deposits, focus on digital, the focus on commercial lending.

So I would say it's a pretty good time actually feel better now than I did, even when we gave guidance in Q4 results back in February. So I'm feeling like the trend is in the right direction. We are seeing a fair amount of M&A, as you can see every day, but I also like the fact that we have new do novos.

For the larger clients, the larger institutions and the larger - and not just a financial institutions but merchants as well, I think there's still a belief that the economy is in good shape. The larger institutions are putting more and more money into digital experience and so that connects quite well with our strategies, especially when you think about money movement. So it's a, it is a good time right now.

Jeff Cantwell

Appreciate it. And then just as a related one, I know there's a lot of puts and takes in early days, but slightly here how some of that quite cautious optimism could potentially translate into your sustaining 5% top line growth next year. Might seem like a low bar given what first status during this quarter. So we just appreciate comments or context that you can give us there? Thanks.

Jeff Yabuki

I would say that all of the context that we've talked about in the market, all of the statistical backup that we try to give in the quarters is all about linking back to our strategy of sustainably increasing our high quality revenue growth turning that into free cash flow and then allocating it to investors to build our shareholders to build. I'm sorry allocating it to build shareholder value.

So from that perspective, that continues. I think we had about 70 basis points of lift last year. I think our trailing - our trailing growth rate has been hovering in this 4.5% to 5% level, 5% again this quarter and, and our guidance for the year, 0.5% and assuming that we do that, we would expect to have, we're not giving guidance.

Bob, we're not giving guidance, but we would expect to see a step-up in our internal revenue growth rate next year as well and that is part of our thinking and that is all standalone Fiserv, when you layer on when you layer on First Data and to your point, there certainly had good performance in the quarter.

But when you layer on the synergy opportunities along with that, along with the growth that we've had. We do, we do expect to have a stepped up internal revenue growth rate, generate more free cash flow and allocate back to shareholders to build value.


Our next question comes from the line of George Mihalos of Cowen and Company. Your line is now open.

Allison Jordan

This is Allison Jordan in for George. Just one quick question for me. I was hoping you could provide an update and a little more color on client discussions as the First Data deals being digested and really just your confidence level in renewing some of the larger partnerships that First Data has in place today. Thank you.

Jeff Yabuki

So again, it's important to note that that we continue to operate as separate companies and we'll do that until close. But the feedback that we've heard is that First Data clients feel as good about versus Fiserv clients do and we have every reason to believe that that will actually create more incremental value, not less in all size clients of First Data and certainly our objective is to make that happen.


Our next question comes from the line of Matt O'Neill of Autonomous Research. Your line is now open.

Matt O'Neill

Certainly a bit dovetail on that last one and put a finer point on it. With respect to when the First Data’s largest partners and also I believe one of Fiserv’s largest partners as well and Bank of America, there been a lot of conformation on the renewal of the JV there. And while probably a more appropriate question for First Data’s management, I'm going to ask you is if there is any discussion or any incremental ways to think about it. And maybe one test to take is just given that you have your own relationship with them. But you are still two discrete companies. Is there any involvement or any kind of back and forth even at a high level with respect to that particular relationship.

Jeff Yabuki

So, Matt. Again, as you know, will continue to operate as separate companies until closing. But to your point, we have a very long term and important relationship with Bank of America, First Data has a very active relationship with the bank and together, we have an even larger more important relationship and a long history of being an important partner with Bank of America. And we fully expect that that's going to continue for many years.


Our next question comes from the line of Joseph Foresi of Cantor Fitzgerald. Your line is now open.

Drew Kootman

This is Drew Kootman on for Joe. I was wondering if you could touch on, just looking at longer-term margins just touching on some of the levers you guys have to keep the expansion going?

Bob Hau

Drew, its Bob. Ultimately, we pointed out, during the first quarter in our prepared remarks here that we've got some headwinds and the current quarter and we saw some last year from the tax reinvestments. So these are discretionary investments where we're making - were significant more significant last year really in the second half of the year. We've got some trailing off of that in the first half of this year.

The acquisition anniversarying the lending transaction in first quarter and transaction that will anniversary in November. All of those combined to give us on opportunity for a nice lift as we progress really into the second half that tax reinvestment is a pretty meaningful change that you'll see in the second half of the year where we spent order magnitude about $25 million or so, second half of last year.

We've got some trailing of that in the first half that will dwindle down, so you will see some meaningful margin improvement that gives us that confidence of delivering at least 50 basis points margin expansion for the full year.

And going forward our continued commitment to grow top line getting to 4.5% to 5% this year. So upwards of 50 basis points revenue growth after 70 basis points revenue growth last year. We're very focused on high quality recurring revenue growth. That means, good margin and helps us deliver that 50 to 100 basis point margin improvement over multiple years into the future.

Jeff Yabuki

I would add, if you take a step back and kind of think about the multi-year margin trend. One of the things that we pay a lot of attention to this. We don't see anything, anything systemic at all. We continue to deliver really strong operational effectiveness growth - I'm sorry, operational effectiveness results continue to grow recurring revenue, one of the things that does happen when you are growing your recurring revenue up, especially around new products that revenue tends to come on at lower margin and then it builds in over scale.

There are two other things that if you again on that step back, if you think about the business more year-over-year. If you think about the combination of the lending divestiture of last year and the acquisitions that we've done over the last 12 to 18 months, that's somewhere in the area in fact a little bit more than 100 basis points in the net effect on margin.

And then the tax reinvestment program that we've talked about is in the neighborhood of I don't know, 40-ish basis points. So those two things, we've had to consume over the last 18 months, we'll wrap through it this year. But, when you combine that kind of unusual set of items along with the growth that we're getting the operational effectiveness and the scaling up of these new solutions, we feel really good about the underlying performance of the margins, given that I think last year even through all of this, margins were down kind of minimally 30 basis points or so. And that means the underlying margin is actually growing at a quite, quite a healthy clip.

Drew Kootman

And then just a quick one on Zelle. I know you mentioned a couple of big wins recently. How does the pipeline look for that?

Jeff Yabuki

Fantastic. I mean the pipeline in terms of the number of institutions. The pipeline has never been stronger. We expect again assuming that there are not systemic constraints. We will bring multiples of the number of clients that we had live at the end of 2018, we'll bring them up this year and we think it will even be higher next year. So we're feeling really good about Zelle and where it's going.


Our next question comes from the line of Bryan Keane of Deutsche Bank. Your line is now open.

Bryan Keane

I had just two clarifications, probably for Bob just on financial maybe you can help us quantify the impact of those license sales. It sounds like they boosted their little bit. So I just want to make sure we have that and maybe what that impact rolls through the second quarter and throughout the year for license sales. And then secondly on payments, the timing of the card services not exactly sure what that is and why that necessarily would picks up in the back half of the year because it sounds like that was down a little bit but does get back to the back half of the year?

Bob Hau

Sure. The financial margin we are up 50 basis points overall for the quarter, we did see, as you point out some benefit of recurring to me of though the periodic revenue, license revenue was up a little bit. That was actually offset by some of the product implementation investments that we've talked about overall. So those two really are canceling out each other and giving us a nice underlying 50 basis points improvement on the 6% top line revenue growth.

In terms of the payments, the point we tried to make on the card services merchant fees, there is some timing of those come in periodic, so there can be some lumpiness to that. It's not based on underlying transactions.

We made the point that the underlying transactions were up high single-digits again this quarter and we've seen the payment segment order of magnitude about 5% every quarter and it came in at 4% this year, this quarter that will turn for the balance of the year and we'll see good overall internal revenue growth payment segment full-year basis.

Bryan Keane

And then just on financial, I think you gave it to me on the margin side, what about on the revenue side, the boost that license sales are periodic revenue had in the quarter?

Bob Hau

Yes, it was overall kind of low single-digit millions. High single-digit millions were $5 million, $6 million.


Our next question comes from the line of Andrew Jeffrey of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Your line is now open.

Andrew Jeffrey

Jeff, the emphasis of course appropriately is on Community Financial institutions. And even as you move up market just traditional banks I guess generally investing in digitization and all the things they need to do. Perhaps little boldly to stay competitive, but how do you position Fiserv, especially as you combine with First Data to address FinTechs in particular, is there a plan by which you're technology can perhaps begin to make some inroads there or how do you balance. I guess the existing constituency with opportunities with some of the challenger banks and new players in the market?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes, I mean that's a great question. I think and the question around, I don't know if this is specifically Andrew around community-based institutions. But I think overall there will end up being over time a cooperative relationship between providers of financial services, whether they be small organizations or very large, a small sub-segment of the FinTech community, which delivers product that needs to get integrated back through and companies like us and in some cases we will create solutions that don't require a FinTech but in some cases FinTechs will build stuff that clients want and we'll integrate it and we do that today, all the time.

So I do see it being a cooperative system. I don't see it being an either or I think as you start to get into the more important solutions around money movement around real fully and fully enabled digital, that’s a much longer part for FinTech and I think that we will continue to invest. We will continue to create unique and differentiated functionality that will help all sized financial institutions and frankly all size merchants when over the longer-haul.

Andrew Jeffrey

And then when you talk about commercial solutions. Just to be clear, that I want to understand. Yeah, how you're viewing it. Are you talking specifically about SMB acquiring and Clover and software and kind of all the things that First Data is addressing today, are you contemplating an expanded suite of Commercial Solutions?

Jeff Yabuki

Yes. So today, if you think about our commercial center solution, we're enabling some of the largest banks in the U.S. to serve very large sophisticated commercial clients. As you think about our mobility business solution, we're digitally enabling all sized cash management. So, whether they would be SMBs or up into the kind of the mid-tier, we have the solutions that go across the entire ecosystem.

So we see opportunities, whether it be in Clover, think about it is bank merchants, whether it be an ISP or whether it be in the largest global e-com provider to create a new ecosystem that creates very unique value for the industry participants and so we're quite excited about that opportunity, the one that we talk about the most because it's the nearest in is clearly bank merchant.

So how do we enable technology such as Clover to be distributed either digitally or through the physical network into our clients and integrating them into cash management and other kinds of solutions. So, but we do see that broad view into the ecosystem and some of the 40 work streams that we talked about that are focused on driving revenue are touching those kinds of opportunities.


Our last question comes from the line of Kartik Mehta of Northcoast Research. Your line is now open.

Kartik Mehta

A question for you, Jeff. And then one for you, Bob. Jeff, I'm assuming the conversations you're having as it relates to your combination with First Data with big banks and community banks is probably a little bit different. And I'm wondering as you look at community financial institutions in the conversations you've had with them. What do you see as a positive about this merger and are there any - do they have any concerns because of the merger?

Bob Hau

Yes, it's interesting substantial majority of community-based financial institutions don't view the merchant relationship as wholly integral to how they serve the market. Part of it is because it is quite a fragmented market, part of it is that they've got other things to do and so the opportunity for us to bring the technology platforms together once were closed and working is something that the institutions very quickly, see how that could be valuable and are quite excited about the different things that can be done.

Thinking about the data it's in the merchant system and the data that's in the core system, the digital enablement kind of the digital solutions, commercial cash management, real time, alerts and notifications and kind of goes on and on.

So literally the banks, the bankers, they'll sit and talk about it quite excitedly for a reasonable period of time and then what they say is well, let's make sure you do this and let's make sure you stay focused on what you've always been focused on.

And so I don't see it as being kind of negative or on the other side of that positive coin, I see it saying, they see the institutions wanting the confidence that they can rely on us to do both. And obviously we would not have done this if we did not think we could do both.

Kartik Mehta

And then just a clarification, just what are the headwinds in revenue that you are anticipating in the second quarter because of periodic revenue?

Jeff Yabuki

So, if you recall, second quarter of last year, we had a benefit. So we had significant internal revenue growth in the second quarter driven from the timing of license revenue, partially and so what you're seeing is that the reverse timing effect where Q1 last year saw some license revenue slide into Q2. We actually saw some benefit of Q3 going into Q2 and then this year, we saw that pick up in Q1 coming out of Q2. And so kind of a dual effect of that taking place in second quarter.

Kartik Mehta

So from a dollar standpoint absolute dollar standpoint, Bob. Are you able to give a range of what you expect to be the headwind in the second - this year's second quarter?

Bob Hau

One thing I'd point to you is Q2 of last year we talked about the timing benefit of that license revenue being about mid-teens impact - mid teens millions, sorry.

Jeff Yabuki

Thanks Kartik, and thank you everyone for joining us. We look forward to continuing discussions. If you need anything please don't hesitate to call to contact our Investor Relations team. Have a good evening.