Sometimes technology rollouts are a headache for First Union Corp. senior vice president Peter Browne: Project managers are not obligated to use his choice of vendor and the top brass may have to sign off too.

But when Mr. Browne, who works in First Union's information security division, wanted to introduce a software system that digitally authenticates people's identity, he had no problem persuading his colleagues to use his vendor of choice - after all, the bank had bought an equity stake in the vendor in August. First Union's $21 million investment in Arcot Systems Inc. "makes it easier for us to get the software deployed," Mr. Browne said. "It's just a better thing to say - 'Our bank has a stake in this.' "

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