Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Buy, Owe, Pay Online Ibm Joins with Banks to Pilot New Internet Services

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Buy, Owe, Pay Online Ibm Joins with Banks to Pilot New Internet Services

Article excerpt

IBM on Monday launched a company to offer online banking services in partnership with 15 banks that claim more than half the households in North America as customers.

The new company, called Integrion Financial Network, aims to set the standard for online services such as check writing and money transfers. Such services are similar to those already available through software such as Intuit Corp.'s Quicken and Microsoft Corp.'s Money.

But IBM hopes the venture will attract new banks to the online world by giving even the smallest of them a network through which their customers can talk to them, and an industry standard by which they communicate. The new network will allow banks to brand their own online products on the screen. Bank customers will be able to use it to check their bank balances, write checks, transfer funds and send e-mail to their banks. Eventually, they may be able to trade securities and get stock quotes, get access to their mutual funds and apply for loans. Integrion represents banks' latest effort at staying at the top of the banking services business, which has been encroached on in recent years by nonbank companies. Last year, only 1 percent of all banking transactions were conducted online, according to the American Bankers Association. IBM tried to set itself apart from Intuit and Microsoft by giving member banks more control over the product and letting them plaster their names on the service, in contrast to existing mass-market financial programs, which emphasize the software developers. "We're a partner, not a competitor," said Louis V. Gerstner Jr., the chairman of IBM. Integrion's bank partners include big institutions like BancOne, Bank of America, NationsBank and the Royal Bank of Canada. …

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