In appointing two executives to direct its remote banking program, MasterCard International has signaled a renewed commitment of resources to that area.
A. Christian Fredrick, senior vice president of strategic planning, has been given the additional responsibility of running the year-old MasterBanking program.
Mr. Fredrick will be joined by Janet S. Hartung, the former Mellon Bank executive with expertise in electronic banking. As senior vice president of product and service delivery, she will add to her duties responsibility for delivery of the program, which promotes home banking and other types of remote service.
Demand from Member Banks
"We've agreed at MasterCard that we're at one of those critical points in the event of a product," Mr. Fredrick said. The market is prime for new technology to deliver remote banking, and "member banks right now are asking for this," he said.
Since February, the former Heel Financial Group executive has devoted his time to planning MasterCard's payment systems strategy through 1996. Now that the plan is nearly finished, he plans to redirect his energies to MasterBanking.
To date, 18 banks have signed on to MasterBanking and 10 of them are live, serving 50,000 customers. MasterCard expects to double the current monthly transaction level of 250,000 within the next year and a half as more banks go live.
"We'll be putting a lot more resources on product management and product delivery," Ms. Hartung said, "and more time on current vendor relationships, future vendor relationships, and the actual product." Liaison with Operations Center
Currently, she serves as liaison with MasterCard's operation center in St. Louis and with third-party service providers.
Mr. Fredrick replaces Glenn F. Santmire, who will open a private consulting practice dedicated to interactive electronic delivery systems.
U.S. region president Peter S.P. Dimsey said the remote banking operations are being expanded because of increased interest among members.
MasterCard will make a substantial investment in resources and technology to implement the second phase of remote banking, Mr. Fredrick said.
One of the key challenges facing MasterCard is to pick the right technology to allow for future growth in the area, he said.
Remote banking is at ground level in terms of what the market wants - including bill payment and funds transfer - Ms. Hartung said. But, she added, in a few years customers will be demanding more options.
The key ingredient for the second phase, Mr. Fredrick added, is the flexibility to integrate with additional consumer needs.
"We'll make sure we do the necessary groundwork so we're not frittering away our investment," Mr. Fredrick said.
What's happening in the development of remote banking is similar to what happened with automated teller machines, noted Neal Chambliss, vice president of Payment Systems Inc., a Tampa, Fla., research firm.
"Everyone had their own ATMs; they were all proprietary," he said. Then the networks came and banks found it more cost efficient to join other banks on regional ATM networks.
"I think home banking is going through that same process," he said. "With MasterBanking and other third-party providers we're going toward a shared system."