Emphasizing its electronic commerce technology, Fiserv Inc. has formed an e-products and services division, and has appointed Paul Danola to run it.

Mr. Danola, 47, was president of Fiserv's credit union division and a past chairman of the company's Internet banking committee. He came to the computer services leader in 1991 through the acquisition of Citicorp Information Resources and has since been instrumental in setting the company's policies for emerging business opportunities.

"We have challenged Paul to be an entrepreneur for us, to go out and create a very strong and visible e-commerce division within Fiserv," said Les Muma, president and chief executive officer.

Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv provides outsourcing services to over 10,000 financial institutions.

Mr. Danola said part of his job is to remedy the perception that Fiserv is a "clunky, old core processor."

"We really needed to start bringing together all the various electronic commerce pieces of the company, put some focus on it, and get the message out," Mr. Danola said.

He will be touting ePrime, Fiserv's service for direct banking operations. ePrime will use existing resources from Banklink, Fiserv's corporate cash management services division; Connect3, its retail Internet services business; and its electronic funds transfer and Internet lending businesses.

Fiserv has alliances with Security First Technologies and Checkfree Corp. to help deliver comprehensive Internet banking and bill-paying services, but Mr. Danola said Fiserv can provide its own front-end Internet banking software.

The company is also testing front-end software called Premier Ecom with six banks. Due to be formally introduced in a couple of weeks, it is integrated with Fiserv's own call centers, data warehousing, and core data processing services and would be a lower-cost alternative to the Security First system.

Another initiative, Loanlink, involves an Internet-based mortgage origination service for banks. Bank customers would get pre-approvals on the Internet and could submit loan applications for processing after a single interactive on-line session.

"We are trying to provide services to our customers so they can be the financial services relationship gateways to their customers," Mr. Danola said.

Mr. Danola, who now has 400 people reporting to him, has received a boost in his efforts from Fiserv's recent deal with American Express. Fiserv will run the back end for the card company's Membership Banking on-line initiative.

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