Citibank has enhanced its banking software for small businesses to include bill payments, international wire transfers, and escrow accounts.

The personal computer software, called Business Access, gives Citibank customers access to real-time account information and funds transfers.

In June 1996, the Citicorp subsidiary became one of the first major banks to eliminate monthly fees for electronic banking by consumers and businesses.

Since then, the bank reported, usage by business customers has increased 450%. About 10% of the bank's business clients use Business Access.

While Citibank customers can get access to their accounts through the Prodigy on-line service or by using Intuit's Quicken financial software, Business Access is only available through a direct connection to the bank. The service is targeted to businesses with $1 million to $10 million of annual revenue.

"For time-strapped businesses, it isn't always convenient to get to the branch," said Gordon Kent, Citibank vice president and director of computer banking for business and professional customers.

"We want to make it convenient and simple for our customers to handle their day-to-day banking needs," he said. "That way, when our customers do visit the branch, we can work with them on meeting their more complex financial needs."

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