Intuit Inc. announced Monday that Meca Software LLC will begin customizing Intuit's Quicken personal financial management software for financial institution home banking programs. The arrangement gives Meca, a joint venture of six banks and the insurance company New England Financial, the exclusive right to develop and market bank-branded versions of Quicken in the United States and Canada.
Meca, which has backed away from selling financial management software directly to consumers, will continue to offer banks customized versions of its Managing Your Money product alongside Quicken.
"This is what financial institutions have been asking for," said William H. Harris, executive vice president of Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit, which claims to have more than 10 million users of Quicken.
"We have philosophically wanted to customize it, but our engineering and development group is designed to create undifferentiated products," said Mr. Harris.
Meca, by contrast, works closely with financial institutions to incorporate their design specifications and customer support requirements into its programs.
"We will provide links to a financial institution's Web site, brand the product in the name of the financial institution, and focus on those products and services that are strategic to the institution," said Paul E. Harrison, president of Meca, based in Trumbull, Conn.
Meca is under contract to label its customized versions "powered by Quicken," but Intuit's branding will be "subservient" to the individual banks', Mr. Harrison said.
Unlike regular Quicken packages, Meca's customized versions will allow individuals only to track accounts held by institutions providing the software. That may alleviate fears expressed by some bankers that Quicken can get between them and their customers.
Besides New England Financial, Meca's owners are BankAmerica Corp., NationsBank Corp., U.S. Bancorp, Fleet Financial Group, Royal Bank of Canada, and Citicorp.