American Express Bank Ltd., a division of American Express Co., is installing a global, personal computer-based electronic banking service that will give clients a "window" into the bank for gaining access to information on accounts, products, and services.

Clients will be able to gain direct access to account information to transact a variety of on-line banking business, such as transferring funds, making payments to accounts, obtaining letters of credit, and sending electronic-mail messages to account representatives.

The bank expects to roll out the new service next April.

Barbara Ismail, senior director and acting head of the product management and marketing group in the bank's financial services division, said that the new service would replace the institution's existing electronic banking system, which serves several hundred users, mostly correspondent banks.

The current system does not offer as great a depth of services as the new one, said Ms. Ismail.

After upgrading the old system several times to meet customers' needs, Ms. Ismail said, a gap remained "between what we had and what we could have had." It could only be filled by developing a new system, she said.

The new system will let clients issue payments in multiple currencies, adds more detailed trade transactions, and will give clients access to the full American Express Bank network from offices all over the world, 24 hours a day.

The electronic banking application was developed by ICM Electronic Banking, a software vendor based in Great Neck, N.Y. The application will run on an AT&T Global Information Solutions computer server, which is UNIX-based and has a data base.

The server will be connected to the bank's mainframe, giving clients access to information from DOS-based PCs.

To ensure that the service continually operates, a second AT&T server will act as a "hot" standby in case of system failure.

The electronic banking application is the bank's first UNIX implementation.

It is "very strategic," said James Alger, a director in the information systems division, because the bank is increasingly moving toward a client-server environment for "gateway" services and, in the future, for backoffice processing.

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