Internet software built for Northern Trust Co.'s wealthiest private banking customers may be raising the bar on Internet banking expectations.
The offering surpasses most other Internet programs by giving users access to a broad range of accounts and information beyond just checking and savings.
Northern Trust is trying to replicate the personalized attention it lavishes on its most valued clients-those with more than $50 million of assets.
The bank's "bread and butter" is building up these client relationships to include "mutual funds and brokerage services and trust services," said Lori M. Nerenberg, vice president and electronic delivery product manager.
With a connection to eight back-end systems, the software reflects this emphasis on multiple-account servicing and cross-selling. It was built using Destiny Software's Granite program.
The first release, due out in May, will support access to basic banking, the Northern Trust Family of Mutual Funds, the full-service brokerage of Northern Trust Securities Inc., the array of Northern Trust portfolio management services, custody accounts, and trust services.
The Internet banking product expands on the bank's Private Passport offering, introduced in 1996, which supported access to traditional banking products.
"Customers wanted access to their entire relationship," Ms. Nerenberg said, citing results of a customer survey. The limited account access prevented Northern Trust from cross-selling, she said, which the bank views as a core competency.
After an extensive evaluation, Northern Trust signed Destiny, of Conshohocken, Pa., in August. Ms. Nerenberg would not reveal what the bank paid for the software, but said it allocated $2.5 million for the first release of Private Passport and has earmarked $4 million more for known subsequent releases.
New features include summaries of all private clients' assets, the ability to drill down from summary to detail level, and consolidate account information. Users also will be able to enter assets not managed or held by Northern Trust. Traditional banking balances will be updated intraday, while other account information will be refreshed at the end of the day.
A second version, scheduled for early 2000 release, will include support for Spanish language, stop payments, and bill payments. Transactional capabilities for mutual funds, brokerage accounts, on-line trading, and access to risk and performance-measurement data bases will come later.
Northern Trust eventually will phase out two other home banking products-one from Electronic Data Systems Corp. obtained through the Cash Station electronic funds transfer network, and one provided by M&I Data Services.
Destiny Software intends to target private banking in its future marketing efforts. The area encompasses "every department in financial services," said Lucinda Bromwyn Duncalfe, president and chief executive officer. That factor plays to the company's integration strengths, she said.
At Northern Trust, for example, Destiny is building interfaces to back- end systems including an M&I deposit system, a Sungard mutual fund system, and a Pershing brokerage clearing system.
It also connects to two trust systems-one developed internally for Illinois clients and a vendor-supplied system for all other clients.
Ms. Duncalfe said installations of this magnitude cost at least $1 million.
Five-year-old Destiny has eight clients, including First U.S.A., Bank of America, GE Capital, Fleet Bank, Vanguard, Advanta, Northern Trust, and one that did not want Destiny to disclose its name.