RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — CO-OP Financial Services has signed an agreement that will give it a deeper foothold into Canada.

The CUSO announced Thursday it has agreed to purchase Everlink Payment Services Inc from a subsidiary of Fidelity National Information Services, which will give CO-OP majority ownership of the Canadian payments solution and services provider to Canadian CUs, banks and more.

CO-OP does not currently hold shares in the Markham, Ontario-based Everlink, but once the deal closes, CO-OP will join minority-owner Celero Solutions (based in Calgary, Alberta) as the two shareholders of Everlink.

"Everlink provides a broad range of payments solutions, including card issuance, fraud management, ATM managed services, point-of-sale and debit payment processing primarily for credit unions, which are similar businesses to that of CO-OP," Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP said in a statement. "We have had a limited presence in Canada. The acquisition of an interest in Everlink enables us to expand our network to clients throughout North America. In fact, we see this investment as a foundation step to a comprehensive North America-wide network and processing solution for credit unions, making it even more convenient for members in both Canada and the U.S. to use ATMs and their debit cards."

Hollen added that CO-OP expects to invite other Canadian cooperatives into ownership participation of Everlink in order to further grow the credit union movement.

"We are pleased to have a strong cooperative system player like CO-OP enter the partnership in Everlink," said Bob Reczka, CEO of Celero. "CO-OP brings significant expertise and scale advantages that will benefit participating financial institutions across Canada. We strongly support building greater capabilities, efficiencies and control for credit unions in the area of payments and the intent to expand Canadian credit union ownership in Everlink has been a fundamental principle of this transaction from the outset."

Mark Ripplinger, Everlink's president and CEO, said in a statement that CO-OP's ownership of Everlink "will substantially benefit... the entire credit union movement in Canada."

Canada is home to about 700 CUs and caisse populaires with more than 10 million members.

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