SAN DIEGO -- Citicorp unveiled a new electronic access system Monday for its global wholesale banking clients.

The product, called Citibanking, was announced here at the Treasury Management Association's annual conference.

The system is meant to build transaction revenue by making it easier for companies to execute funds transfers and securities trades through Citicorp units worldwide.

A Huge Investment

"We think it will revolutionize the way customers do business with us," said Robert E. Terkhorn, Citicorp's managing director of global cash-management services.

Mr. Terkhorn and Citicorp has in vested tens of millions of dollars in Citibanking, which has been in development for two years.

Anita W. Emard, a Citicorp vice president who helped design the product, said the company expects to recover its investment within two years of a full commercial launching, which is to begin in the second quarter of next year.

The payoff will come from increases in cash-management and securities-processing business and reductions in operating costs through the elimination of a multitude of older electronic access products for various wholesale banking services.

Seen Leading the Pack

Other banking companies, including Chase Manhattan Corp. and J.P. Morgan & Co., are said to be working on electronic access products similar to Citicorp's. But some observers said Citicorp appears to be ahead of the pack by a year or so and that its lead could help it win new business.

"It's still fairly unusual and ought to provide them a competitive advantage," said Diane Glossman, vice president and bank stock analyst at Salomon Brothers Inc., New York.

Citibanking has two components, one consisting of software on Citicorp's computers, the other, of programs on a corporate customer's computer.

The product will be able to gather information from Citicorp units in 52 countries, including most of Western Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States.

The customer software can run on mainframes, over a network of personal computers, or on a single workstation running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.

Ms. Emard said Citibanking was targeted at some 800 corporations that use a multitude of the bank's services in several countries. A handful of unnamed customers are now using Citibanking or installing it, she added.

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