The electronic banking business has seen more unions than a Moonie wedding. Meca Software and Sun Microsystems-arguably drawn together by their mutual rivalry with Microsoft-are betting their relationship has staying power. For Meca, a Trumbull, CT-based consortium owned by Bank of America, NationsBank, First Bank System, Fleet Financial Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Citibank and The New England, the marriage will allow banks to offer their customers Java-based solutions of secure remote access to financial services, anywhere, anytime.

For Sun MicroSystems Inc., a 15-year-old computing giant with $8.5 billion in annual revenues, it's a coveted chance to develop specific solutions for financial institutions and finally, clearly understand that booming, lucrative market. "Technology is not (Meca's) primary business, financial services is," says Jim Bressler, Sun's global marketing director, banking. "But the pace is changing so quickly that no one wants to look stupid or get left behind. (Bankers) are looking for technology companies to help them make sense of it all and to rationalize their investments." As competition for financial services customers heats up, with everyone from insurance companies to telcos jumping into the fray, it's a great time to get married, Bressler says.

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