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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, March 24, 2014, 6:15 am

Banking & Finance: FICO plans acquisition of Novato firm

Also: S&P upgrades Napa Co. bonds; RCU names wealth director

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    Eric Gneckow, Business Journal Staff ReporterFICO (NYSE: FICO), a Silicon Valley predictive analytics company known for its credit-score modeling, reached a deal to merge with a Novato-based developer of business data modeling started by former FICO employees.

    Terms of the deal, including plans for offices and staff of the firm, InfoCentricity, have not been disclosed.

    FICOBest-known for its eponymous score used by credit-reporting companies since 1989, FICO plans to add InfoCentricity’s software to its FICO Analytic Cloud platform following the expected completion of the transaction next month.

    InfoCentricity offers software-as-a-service platforms to support strategic decisions in finance, marketing and other areas. Products include its flagship Xeno and Strategy Trees programs.

    “Together with FICO’s other leading analytics tools and solutions, InfoCentricity’s technology brings deep insight, visibility and control to the model building process, allowing collaborative teams to craft the very best predictive models and decision strategies,” said Jeff Dandridge, chief executive officer of InfoCentricity, in a statement. “Adding these tools to the FICO Analytic Cloud will mean greater predictive acumen for organizations of all sizes.”

    A private company, InfoCentricity completed two rounds of angel investment for an undisclosed sum since its launch in 2000.

    FICO itself has Marin roots. Started in 1954 as Fair, Isaac and Company, it moved from San Francisco’s Financial District to San Rafael in 1961 and grew to occupy several office buildings until 2004, when it started shifting administrative functions to Minnesota. The name changed to Fair Isaac Corp. in 2003 then to FICO in 2009. The headquarters moved to San Jose last year.

    “Growing demand for analytics that generate real and reliable value from data is creating enormous pressures on organizations of all sizes and in all industries,” said Will Lansing, CEO of FICO, in a statement. “With this acquisition, we are able to put the most sophisticated, cloud-based analytics modeling tools into the hands of the entire spectrum of users, from first-time modelers and seasoned business analysts, up through advanced data scientists and the most demanding analytics professionals.”

    FICO currently employs 90 people in San Jose, and has regional hubs in San Diego, San Rafael, London and Birmingham, England, Singapore, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Brazil and Roseville, Minn.

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    Standard & Poor’s Rating Services upgraded county of Napa certificates of participation rating from “AA” to “AA-plus,” allowing the county to issue bonds at a low interest rate and save on costs in financing large public construction projects, according to a county announcement.

    “AA-plus” is the highest-possible rating for municipal bond issuers in the United States, a measure of financial strength that suggests lower risk for bond buyers.

    S&P cited a strong economy, budgetary performance, liquidity and debt load as contributing to its decision, the county said. The firm also acknowledged the county’s budgetary reserve, which exceeded 50 percent of general fund expenditures in 2013.

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    Redwood Credit Union named Tom Hubert as wealth management program director, a role tasked with overseeing and managing the credit union’s CUSO Financial Services investment program and staff.

    Tom Hubert

    Tom Hubert

    Mr. Hubert enters that role with 15 years of experience in wealth management and investing, most recently as regional program manager for CUSO Financial Services. He has worked at JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Edward Jones, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cameron University.

    He holds a series of securities licenses from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as well as a California life and health insurance license.

    In other Redwood Credit Union news, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce named the credit union “Large Business of the Year.” The institution has been a member for 18 years and supported 17 Marin County-based nonprofits and 49 community events last year, according to the chamber.

    ***

    The board of directors of Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ: BMRC), parent company of Bank of Marin, appointed financial industry veteran James Hale to its board of directors.

    James Hale

    James Hale

    Mr. Hale worked 16 years at BancAmerica Securities as senior managing partner at head of the Financial Services Group, where he advised banks insurance companies and financial service companies on mergers and acquisitions and other complex transactions. He is currently general partner of FTV Capital, a firm he founded in 1998.

    Mr. Hale is a certified public accountant, and will serve of the board’s audit committee.

    He earned a bachelor of science degree in finance & accounting from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned an MBA from Harvard University. Mr. Hale lives in Belvedere.

    ***

    Pamela Norris

    Pamela Norris

    Pamela Norris joined Wells Fargo Private Bank as senior private banker in its Corte Madera office at 770 Tamalpais Dr., the institution announced.

    Ms. Norris received a bachelor’s degree in business from Fresno State University and has more than 25 years of experience in financial services.    

    ***

    A national market research firm presented Rabobank, NA, with its annual consumer-advocacy award.

    The MSR group acknowledged the bank’s proactive measures to provide new services to customers as part of its decision. The bank implemented rewards programs for checking accounts, mobile banking and an enhanced ATM network in 2013.

    MSR conducts a national consumer survey annually, evaluating customer satisfaction and advocacy at more than 100 banks and credit unions. The study involves more than 2,400 retail banking customer interviews annually.

    Rabobank entered the North Bay market through the acquisition of Napa Community Bank in 2010. It currently operates three branches in the region, and plans to move its Santa Rosa branch to a Railroad Square district building next month.

    ***

    International payment processor TSYS (NYSE: TSS) increased its ownership stake in San Rafael-based Central Payment to 75 percent from 60 percent, the companies announced.

    TSYS formed a joint venture with Central Payment in August 2012. Central Payment, which offers social marketing and payment processing services, has doubled in value in that time to $250 million, according to the announcement.

    The move included an agreement for Central Payment founders and twin brothers Matt and Zach Hyman to serve as co-managing directors for three more years.

    ***

    Send items for this column to eric.gneckow@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4259.

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