Constitution State Corporate Credit Union has agreed to let Electronic Data Systems Corp. build and manage a data center to provide other credit unions with electronic banking processing services.

The Wallingford, Conn.-based corporate provides correspondent banking and technological services to more than 240 credit unions serving 900,000 members. It is focused on selling services mainly to its member credit unions in Connecticut.

"We want Connecticut credit unions to look to us first for technically sophisticated products, properly structured payment services, and solid investment products," said president and chief executive Raymond Dowling.

Under the 10-year agreement, EDS has built a state-of-the-art data center for the credit union, and will manage back-office operations. The Plano, Tex., company will also provide the credit union with its corporate enterprise system, which includes customer information and data warehousing applications.

Constitution said it struck the deal in an effort to help Connecticut credit unions succeed in the emerging electronic banking marketplace.

"Our member credit unions are telling us that to compete with commercial banks in Connecticut, they need new convenience-oriented services such as telephone bill paying, home banking, and debit cards," Mr. Dowling said. "Our strategic goal is to be the leading provider of these services to credit unions."

Constitution State's new relationship with EDS is the centerpiece of its long-term strategy.

The credit union will provide home banking services to correspondent credit unions through Interactive Transaction Partners, a joint venture of EDS, US West, and France Telecom that supports touch-tone, screen phone, and PC access to electronic banking.

Constitution State plans to sell its client members the services, with EDS providing support. The clients would brand the services for resale to their own individual members.

"These new systems and services will help our credit unions be more competitive, make it easier for them to use our services, and it will save time and dollars at both ends," Mr. Dowling said.

Constitution State officials believe the business association with EDS will enable the credit union to expand its services to adjacent states.

To support the new services, Constitution State is replacing its old computer systems with an integrated system developed by EDS. Called the corporate enterprise system, it uses networks of personal computers linked to servers that store data and software applications.

The system consolidates customer information, tracks and analyzes the credit union's customer relationships, and provides a method for relationship-based pricing structures. It also provides real-time analysis of the financial condition of each member credit union.

The system "represents a significant step forward," said Mr. Dowling. "It puts much more information at the fingertips of our staff, enabling us to respond more quickly to member needs."

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