Magazine article American Banker

First Union One of 6 Vying for Innovation Award

Magazine article American Banker

First Union One of 6 Vying for Innovation Award

Article excerpt

Home banking and bill payment systems are gaining attention under the same roof as Archie Bunker's chair and the Spirit of St. Louis.

The last two are among the prize possessions of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. But First Union Corp.'s home banking program and Checkfree Corp.'s electronic bill-presentment system are among six banking- related innovations that are finalists for annual awards given by the Smithsonian museums and ComputerWorld magazine. Winners are to be announced Monday.

The banking-related nominations are a nod to the way financial software is changing how many people live.

"Much of today's innovation is very much a function not of physical items that you see-cars driving on the street or paintings-but ideas coming together to create new products and services," said Edgar D. Brown, senior vice president in charge of First Union's remote banking product, Customer Direct Access.

In total, 321 companies and organizations were nominated for the awards. "The program's been really quite good at tracking some of the innovations in how banks are using information technology," said David Allison, information society chairman at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

Awards are given in 10 categories, including finance, insurance and real estate, and government and nonprofit organizations.

"The awards program gave us the opportunity to document ongoing changes in information technology in a way that we could use to enrich our collection and continually update our Information Age exhibit," said Mr. …

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