Zurcher Kantonalbank has become the first bank in Switzerland to offer an Internet service based on Java computing methods, Hewlett-Packard Co. said.

Hewlett-Packard supplied its Virtual Vault security software as well as consulting, project management, and system integration support. Virtual Vault was installed in conjunction with data encryption technology from Brokat Information Systems of Germany.

In the week after the ZKB Onlinebank service went live in September, more than 2,000 customers did banking transactions.

Indicating the rapid deployment capability of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java language, the service was designed and installed in six months. With Java tools, developers created a Microsoft Windows-type interface.

Markus Bachofen, the Zurich bank's head of retail delivery, credited Hewlett-Packard for "helping our information technology staff become familiar with the Web, Java, and client-server technology." That would have "proved too costly" if done internally.

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