The NYCE electronic banking network is in the midst of building a multimillion-dollar technology platform to support home banking and bill payment services.
NYCE's move comes at a time when the regional electronic banking networks are studiously reviewing and revising their mission statements. No longer satisfied to be viewed as simple utilities, the networks are interested in taking advantage of their critical mass of financial institution members to develop remote delivery and other processing services.
"We have no intention of replacing a Money or a Quicken," said Dennis Lynch, chief operating officer and executive vice president of marketing and strategic planning for Infinet Payment Services Inc., the Hackensack, N.J.-based operator of NYCE.
"But we are specialists in moving funds and giving customers access points to their funds," he added. "We're specialists not only in processing. We've got settlement capabilities, contractual relationships, a sufficient mass of consumers, and the underlying infrastructure."
While the NYCE hardware platform would support transactions generated by Intuit Inc.'s Quicken and Microsoft Corp.'s Money software, NYCE will also make available its own package of home banking and bill payment software.
"We are not branding our software, because things that are delivered into the home don't need to be branded," said Richard P. Yanak, president and chief executive officer of Infinet. "The customer understands that the relationship is with the bank. The role of the network must be simply to help the banks deploy these home-based services."
NYCE expects the technology platform to be ready for live tests early next year. Several NYCE members have already expressed interest in participating in pilots.
"We will be testing the service with a few of our large bank members because we want banks that already have a sizable constituency of users to jump-start the program," said Mr. Yanak.
He added that NYCE wants to the test to be as close to real market conditions as possible. That means finding consumers who use different home banking packages, whether from banks, software vendors, or NYCE.
"We are impressed with the speed at which NYCE is moving," said Ronald V. Congemi, president of Star System Inc., a San Diego-based regional network. "There's no question that NYCE has the technological know-how to accomplish this."