First Union Corp. has licensed electronic procurement and financial management software from Oracle Corp.

Last week's contract signing came two months after the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company signed a deal for electronic marketplace software from Intelisys Electronic Commerce Inc. Though the two software packages are similar in functionality, they are to be deployed at First Union for different purposes, said Dhrubo Sircar, vice president and division information officer for corporate finance and general services at the banking company.

First Union said it plans to use the Oracle software to streamline internal purchasing. About 13,000 of its employees will have full use of the software, which offers access to online office supply catalogues. The system is to link the company's 40,000 offices, and other employees will have more limited use of the software. The "state of the art system" will help each line of business run more efficiently, Mr. Sircar said.

The company also is licensing Oracle's e-business software, which is intended to reduce operating and purchasing costs by integrating an institution's purchasing activities with its core financial systems. First Union is to use the software to integrate its back-office financial applications, which currently operate as a patchwork of automated silos, Mr. Sircar said.

First Union is the second large banking company to license Oracle's electronic procurement and e-business software. This month GreenPoint Financial Corp., aiming to upgrade its internal purchasing capabilities, announced a similar contract with Oracle.

At First Union the Oracle applications are to operate independently of the Intelisys software, which is being used to create an online marketplace for the bank's small and midsize business customers, Mr. Sircar said.

In a separate announcement Intelisys said that it signed a deal last week with Union Planters Corp. to supply the $33 billion-asset Memphis banking company with software for internal procurement as well as for an online marketplace it plans to build for its business customers.

The company said the internal purchasing software, which will streamline purchase orders, fulfillment, delivery, and payment for its employees, will go into operation within 90 days. Union Planters said it expects to cut purchasing and administrative costs by 20% to 30% by using the Intelisys software.

By yearend, Union Planters plans to have up and running an online marketplace powered by Intelisys' ConnectTrade software. The marketplace is to bring together the company's trading partners and its 200,000 small-business customers to buy and sell products on a secure online platform.

Union Planters is joining a growing number of banking companies that are creating online business marketplaces. Chase Manhattan Corp. and Bank of America Corp. have formed subsidiaries to build their marketplaces. Wells Fargo & Co. has invested in and licensed software from BusinessBots Inc. Citigroup Inc. has allied itself with Commerce Once Inc., and KeyCorp has teamed up with Ariba Inc.

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