Irish Bank Schedules Wireless Phone Service

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Customers of Ulster Bank Group in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland soon will be able to gain access to their accounts through the mobile phone network.Wireless Application Protocol software from Dublin-based Macalla Software will let Ulster Bank customers get in to their accounts 24 hours a day from any location. The bank has scheduled an internal rollout of the service in February, with general release to follow in April.

Initial services are to include access to account balances, checkbook requests, and retrieval of transaction details based on search criteria entered by the customer. Future applications are to include interaccount transfer, bill payments, and credit card support.

"At Ulster Bank we see the development of our e-commerce and mobile commerce plans as central to the strategic development of our business," said Martin Drayne, information technology manager. Ulster Bank is part of the NatWest Group.

Niall O'Cleirigh, chief executive officer of Macalla Software, said mobile phones have already achieved a high degree of penetration and use in the Irish and U.K. markets. He predicted that WAP-enabled phones would soon be "the standard handset offering."


Bill Presentment Firm Gets $40M of Capital

ATLANTA - Derivion Corp., an electronic bill presentment company, has received $40 million in a third round of venture capital funding from sources that included the Capital Z Financial Services Fund II LP, GE Financial Assurance, and Hambrecht & Quist's Access Technology Fund.Other investors were insurance underwriter Zurich U.S., Farmers Group Inc., NeoCarta Ventures, PTEKVentures.com, and Fuqua Capital. The latter three also invested in previous rounds.

Terms of the funding, which brings Derivion's 12-month investment capital total to $54 million, were not disclosed.

Derivion said it will use the capital to extend its global sales and marketing efforts and expand its infrastructure. The Atlanta company offers outsourced electronic bill presentment and payment services to companies that send periodic bills.

It targets small to midsize companies that do not want to set up in-house electronic bill presentment systems.

The company also recently signed an agreement with First Union Corp. to jointly market Derivion's services. Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union is a founding bank in the Spectrum bill presentment joint venture.


Electronic-Credit Firm Adds $24M of Funding

WESTWOOD, Mass. - A $24 million round of financing has been closed by eCredit.com with participation from First Union Securities, Mellon Ventures, Eastman Chemical Co., Gateway Inc., Hambrecht & Quist, Hewlett-Packard Co., Mitsui & Co. (USA) Inc., Vortex Partners, and Wells Fargo & Co.The investment is to be used to cement key relationships for the company and support growth of the eCredit.com Global Financing Network, an electronic marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers of credit and financing.

Transactions on the network close in real-time, making credit and financing more accessible to businesses and consumers and reducing transaction processing time from days to seconds.

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