NEW ORLEANS -- NationsBank Corp. said Wednesday that it will offer a telephone banking service that has been tested in the Washington area since May 1992 to all its customers in the Middle Atlantic region.

The Charlotte. N.C.-based superregional said it will begin marketing screen-equipped telephones in January to more than one million households in Washington. Maryland, and Virginia.

The decision follows NationsBank's acquisition on Oct. 1 of Baltimore-based MNC Financial Inc., which had deployed about 4.000 of the screen telephones to customers of two subsidiary banks. MNC touted its program as the only full-scale telephone banking venture in operation. Several market tests are under way elsewhere.

Citicorp Plans Test

NationsBank said it would restrict its marketing initially to the Middle Atlantic region and will consider extending it to other parts of its nine-state banking empire.

The announcement, at the Bank administration Institute Retail Delivery Systems conference. was the second within a week by a bank with a huge potential market of home banking customers. In a test announced last week by American Corp. of Chicago. Citicorp will be marketing banking services through screen telephones to as many as 200,00 midwestern households.

Acknowledging that the service is still in an experimental mode. NationsBank Officials did not predict how widely it would be accepted. A bank representative did indicate that the decision to market an upgraded version of the screen telephone was prompted by customer acceptance of a previous product. called the ScreenPhone 120.

The device's manufacturer. Online Resources and Communications Corp., of McLean. Va.. said the new ScreenPhone 220 will be available at prices of $89 to $139.

The pricing is considered low by home banking standards, particularly in comparison with personal computers.

"We've got a loyal core of users that we feel can be expanded upon," said Charles Hieronymi, senior vice president at NationsBank.

Services available on the phone, whose screen resembles that of an automated teller machine, include balance inquiries, statements. bill payments, and funds transfers between accounts.

EDS Joins in Alliance

Also on Wednesday. Electronic Data Systems Corp. joined with a consumer marketing unit of US West and a French technology company in the latest marketing alliance for interactive financial services.

The French company. France Telecom Intelmatique, will be attempting to transfer to the United States the interactive technology used to deliver banking and other information-related services to 20 million consumers and small businesses in that country.

The alliance will market its services on a "private label" basis, so that financial institutions would resell the service to customers under their own names.

The systems will also be "device independent," meaning that a bank could deliver via a personal computer, screen telephone, interactive television or other media, said J. Randall Peyser, an EDS executive who has been named president of the alliance, known as Interactive Transaction Partners.

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