Michigan National Corp. has agreed to license software from Checkfree Corp. that will let the bank's cash management customers access and manipulate accounts through a single "window" on a personal computer.
The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, is part Columbus, Ohio-based Checkfree's recent push to expand its reach beyond consumer bill payment services.
As a result of recent acquisitions, Checkfree sells a wide range of electronic commerce products and services to banks.
Slated to be available in the fall, Michigan National's service has been customized to let customers examine check images on-line to help them make payment decisions.
"We wanted to do a complete conversion (to a Windows-based system), and we felt they had all the modules that we wanted now," said Zorica Bozinovich, a manager in the commercial products division at the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based bank.
The Michigan National deal is based on software developed by Servantis Systems Inc., a Norcross, Ga.-based firm that Checkfree acquired in January.
"We are getting a lot of leverage out of what the old Servantis had," said Checkfree spokesman Matthew Lewis.
Though Checkfree provides bill payment services to over 500,000 consumers, it no longer sells services directly to them.
Instead, it sells bill payment processing capabilities to banks, who can in turn market the services to customers.
The changed approach is meant to assure banks that the company has no designs on their customers. Checkfree executives said the company now is focused on selling its products and services only to banks and other financial services firms.
Industry observers said the change in strategy was necessary.
"Checkfree needed a back-office shop to go with its front end in writing checks," said James Wells a Washington-based consultant with Furash & Co.
In addition to Servantis, this spring Checkfree acquired Interactive Solutions Corp. of Portland, Ore., and Security APL of Chicago. Both companies specialize in building banking applications for the Internet.
"We anticipate high corporate growth," said Lynn D. Busing, executive vice president at Checkfree.