CoreStates Financial Corp. is close to signing an agreement with Andersen Consulting for software applications development and maintenance.

Specific terms of the pending deal are still being ironed out. Representatives from Chicago-based Andersen and the Philadelphia-based bank said they expect to sign a letter of intent within a few weeks and to finalize a "long-term" contract sometime this summer. They declined to comment further.

Analysts and consultants said an applications development deal would shore up an area that CoreStates may have neglected while integrating its systems with those of Meridian Bancorp, which it acquired last year.

CoreStates has had problems "over the past year with the integration of the back-office operations," said Katrina Blecher, a senior analyst with Gruntal & Co.

By employing Andersen Consulting, the bank can focus on "other issues of the consolidation and the merger," she said.

"This doesn't surprise me at all," added David Medeiros, an analyst at Tower Group, Newton, Mass. "Banks often look to third parties for help during and after merger integration projects."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.