Bank of America is planning to offer an electronic bill delivery service.
Jane Wallace, the BankAmerica Corp. subsidiary's senior vice president of payment strategy and development, spelled out the strategy last week just after Citicorp shook the electronic bill presentment market by agreeing to buy a minority stake in MSFDC, the joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and First Data Corp.
MSFDC has been renamed TransPoint and will draw on Citicorp's payment processing capabilities.
Like Citicorp, Bank of America decided years ago to build its own capabilities for processing electronic bill payments rather than farming them out to providers such as Checkfree Corp.
That commitment may be paying extra dividends now that potential revenue-generating services are hitting the market.
"Bank of America is in a unique position, because we are one of the few organizations that continues to maintain our bill payment engine," said Ms. Wallace.
It has taken the proprietary approach since it began offering on-line and telephone banking in the 1980s.
The strategy also has a wholesale component. Cash management customers that use Bank of America to present bills could cut their costs and accelerate the receipt of payments from payers who also use Bank of America.
"We have been able to see the synergies from the retail or wholesale side," said Ms. Wallace.
Her job, bridging retail and wholesale divisions, is unusual among financial institutions.
The more typical "Berlin Walls" between them impede bill-payment progress, Cybercash Inc. vice president Richard K. Crone has said.
Ms. Wallace said the BankAmerica service is not fully defined but could give corporate payees "good funds" electronically on the same business day that a payment is initiated.
"Bank of America can concentrate funds from a variety of sources-Banc One, Citicorp, Chase, and Checkfree-into an electronic lockbox," Ms. Wallace said.
"All the customers that have an account at Bank of America receive good funds without paying network fees."
The forthcoming merger with NationsBank Corp. could enhance the usefulness of these "on-us" transactions, Ms. Wallace said.