Appeal of "Push"-Ing Web Banking despite Sketchy Biz Models, Banks Forge Ahead

Article excerpt

In the highly traditional world of banking, unconventional thinking goes a long way, which is why some banks are developing Internet strategies without business models in place.

This newfound pioneering spirit among banks and nonbanks bodes well for companies like Marimba, Inc., a privately held software company whose Castanet "push" technology product is rapidly gaining attention within the financial services community. Castanet enables financial institutions to broadcast content over corporate networks and the Internet. The system has two components: a Castanet Transmitter server and a Tuner client, which enables consumers, for example, to subscribe to application channels deployed by various transmitters across corporate intranets or the Internet.

The year-old, Silicon Valley-based Marimba's momentum is impressive: Currently, the company is doing business with 20 financial services companies, according to Marimba's David Cope, vp of marketing. What type of applications have been developed by financial institutions? Two big investment management companies, for example, are using Castanet to deliver customized investment servicesobased on the size of a retail customer's portfoliooover the Internet, says Marimba's Randy Skipper, director of sales for the east coast.

But Marimba's technology isn't a sure thing for all financial services playersoyet. While Castanet has real promise, according to Advanta Corp.'s Ron Rock, director of strategic business development for electronic financial services, the company is some six to 12 months away from recognizing its true potential in the marketplace. …