ABN Amro NV is expanding its relationship with IBM to help it merge with the former Fortis Bank.

International Business Machines Corp. of Armonk, N.Y., announced that it would build a new computing environment and integrate the existing technology infrastructure of ABN Amro and Fortis. The new environment will be more streamlined and flexible than the current structure.

IBM "has proven to be a trustworthy partner in the areas of people and technology," Frans Woelders, ABN Amro's chief information officer, said in a press release Friday. "IBM will help us reach our goal of creating an integrated bank and will provide us with the tools and technology we need to prepare for the future of the banking industry."

IBM said it will develop a more client-centric computing environment for ABN Amro, which should speed the company's communications both internally and with its customers.

"IBM will build an environment for ABN Amro in which employees and customers can easily collaborate and access the bank's services, creating a more flexible and cost-efficient model for ABN Amro's worldwide operations," Harry van Dorenmalen, the country general manager for IBM's Netherlands business, said in the release.