Comerica has hired payments processor Vantiv as the financial institution continues a legal battle stemming from a discontinued joint venture with Global Payments, which a judge says has taken a "hostile attitude" toward the bank.
Vantiv will provide services for Comerica's Merchant Services customers, including payments processing and technology.
"Comerica made the decision to engage a new partner with the needs of our Merchant Services customers foremost in mind," said Albert P. Taylor, senior vice president of National Bank Card Services at Comerica, in an August 5 press release.
Comerica's fight with Global Payments accompanies the windup of a debit and credit card processing joint venture between the two companies called Global Payments Comerica Alliance. The alliance dates to 1996, and the dispute began in 2013, when the two companies could not agree on terms to renew their contract. That led to a year-long transition period to wind down the venture.
Andre Bouchard, a Delaware Chancery Court judge, has decided to intervene in the dispute because of the deep division between the two companies.
Bouchard placed the blame for the divide on both parties, but singled out Global Payments for actions that included cutting off Comerica's access to Global Payments' merchant accounting system for about two days after Comerica would not reconsider its decision to end the two companies' partnership. This "cut off" prevented Comerica from monitoring for fraud, and was an "egregious act for which there is no excuse," Bouchard wrote.
Global Payments also tripled fees for services during the transition period and did not meet to discuss how to divide the joint venture's merchant portfolio for three months.
"The fundamental problem I perceive from the record is that Global, instead of embracing the obligation to wind up the joint venture's affairs promptly to serve the best interests of all of its members, has overreached by acting purely out of its own self-interests," Bouchard wrote.
Global Payments would not provide an executive for comment and Comerica would not comment on the Global Payments case.
Comerica's public relations department issued a statement saying the bank is "very pleased with the Chancellor's rulings and looks forward to working with the court-appointed Liquidating Trustee to transition to Comerica Bank's new payment processing venture with Vantiv Inc."
In an email, Amy Corn, a spokesperson for Global Payments, said "we are glad this unnecessary litigation is coming to an end and that the joint venture can be wound up by Jan. 31, 2015."