PORTLAND, Maine — A Wisconsin software firm has purchased the Lewiston-based financial services company FISC Solutions in a deal the Lewiston firm’s leader said has the potential to double the 75-employee company’s headcount in the next two years.
“They are a much larger company and they are going to move business our way because we do things they don’t do. We have the potential to double or more than double our workforce,” Jerry Blodgett, FISC’s president and chief executive officer, said in a phone interview Thursday.
Blodgett said the purchase was a “multimillion-dollar deal,” but said he could not disclose the exact sale price to Wausau Financial Systems Inc. of Wisconsin.
Wausau is a subsidiary of the publicly traded Deluxe Corp. out of Minnesota, a $1.7 billion company that prints bank checks under a variety of brands and offers other financial services.
Blodgett said FISC’s leaders began notifying its customers of the acquisition Thursday, after telling employees Wednesday.
The Bangor Daily News is a customer of FISC, which also provides back-office payment processing services for various utilities, banks and other companies in Maine.
Blodgett was one of a core group of managers who bought the company last year from the firm that was jointly owned by Androscoggin Bank and Norway Savings Bank.
The company has long been a customer of Wausau, using some of its industry-specific software for processing payments.
Blodgett said he’s known Wausau’s president for roughly 25 years and closed the deal earlier to extend Wausau’s reach into another segment of the payment processing market.
“They are in the business of writing software and selling it to large companies, but as time goes on they want to be able to sell that software and sell the results of that software,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett said he sees the potential to increase the company’s workforce in Lewiston as it gains access to a bigger sales force in parts of the country that are too far afield for its current footprint.
“That opens up our market space tremendously and that to me is the exciting part of this,” Blodgett said. “That’s what drives the growth because we can process [payments] wherever they come from.”
That’s a barrier now with utilities or other banks around the country that need payment processors nearby that can convert paper records into an electronic format then for processing.
“The reason we wouldn’t be competitive for processing a utility payment out of California would be the amount of time it would be for the mail to get that to us to process,” Blodgett said. “As part of a larger company, we could have sites around the country.”
Blodgett said new hires would come on board as the company gains new clients, not at one time. Blodgett said the company looks to hire a new employee for about every two new clients.
Blodgett said the company already has space in its office at 168 Lisbon St. in Lewiston to accommodate any new hiring.
He said FISC will operate as a division of Wausau, for which he will take on the new title of senior vice president of customer relations.
FISC’s owners said in their memo to customers that because they currently use Wausau’s software, they don’t expect any disruptions to payment processing with the change.