KeyCorp is running faster to catch up with the leaders in on-line banking.
The Cleveland-based banking company announced an agreement last week that will give its customers access to Intuit Inc.'s Quicken personal financial management software for electronic banking and bill paying.
Though KeyCorp officials said their red key logo will be displayed more prominently within Quicken than the brands of other financial institutions, an Intuit spokesman said the agreement with KeyCorp was unexceptional.
Nearly 50 banks already offer customers the ability to connect electronically to Intuit products.
"We have been criticized by some for being late to the game," said Patrick J. Swanick, executive vice president of electronic commerce at the $67 billion-asset KeyCorp. "But you will see that by the end of the year there will be on-line products for all with whom we choose to do business."
Though banks such as Citicorp and Wells Fargo & Co. have been offering banking by personal computer and/or the Internet for years, KeyCorp customers have been getting their first taste of on-line banking only since May.
"We fully expect as many on-line users as the other leaders," Mr. Swanick said.
The bank is expected to announce soon that customers can also gain access to their accounts via Microsoft Money, Quicken's best-known competitor in the personal finance field. In the fall, KeyCorp plans to add transactional capabilities to its stylish Internet site.
"Our customers have been telling us that Intuit is what they want in the on-line world," Mr. Swanick said, a reflection of Quicken's market leadership over Money and a few less popular products.
One area in which KeyCorp may be pushing the technology envelope is its attempt at on-line market segmentation. For each of its major customer groups-such as small business, emerging affluent, and seniors-the bank hopes to offer services tailored to particular needs.
Recently announced examples include electronic procurements of small- business supplies and an alliance with Auto-by-Tel to help customers obtain financing for cars sold over the Internet.
Though declining to give details, bank vice president Linda J. Najim said Key and Intuit might exchange certain demographic information about their customers, above and beyond what banks normally share with the software company.
KeyCorp believes branding is its key to success in virtual channels, Mr. Swanick indicated. "We have an emphasis on branding 'the key' on a nationwide basis," he said. "We are continuing that strategy of branding on-line."