Eight companies have announced their participation in a year-long Internet banking research project organized by Global Concepts Inc. of Norcross, Ga.

In the group, the Financial Services Internet Forum, are companies closely identified with electronic commerce: Checkfree Corp., Cybercash Inc., Edify Corp., MasterCard International, Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Verifone Inc., and Zenith Data Systems.

Allen H. Lipis, chief executive officer of Global Concepts, said the forum will explore Internet-related business issues, including marketing strategies and service applications.

"We'll look at all the things related to making this a real business for banking," Mr. Lipis said.

The announcement of the forum last Wednesday was moved up a week to coincide with the formation of one of the larger of several Internet commerce consortia, the Joint Electronic Payments Initiative. It listed 28 organizations, including banks and technology companies, among its initial members.

There are overlaps between the two groups: Cybercash, Microsoft, Verifone, and Zenith Data are in both.

Mr. Lipis said his forum is "not going to compete" with the larger consortium, which is working to develop an open standard for on-line payment mechanisms.

"Our focus is on the business issues, and so far nobody has focused on that at all," Mr. Lipis said.

The Internet Forum will meet three times a year and will share in the products of research. The first meeting will be June 20-21 in Washington.

For the right to use "Internet" in the forum name, Global Concepts named Internet Inc. a sponsor of the group. The Vienna, Va., company operates the Most automated teller network.

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