First Data Corp.'s direct banking division said it will use software from Home Financial Network Inc. of Westport, Conn., to help community banks get quickly and inexpensively on the Internet.
The recently formed unit of First Data is promoting a 30/30 plan, promising to deliver customized Internet banking packages for $30,000 in less than 30 days.
Part of a product line called NetPrecision, the program lets banks use Home Financial Network's software, with First Data handling technical integration and back-end processing.
Customers could opt out of Internet ATM, the Home Financial software that requires a $1 monthly per-customer fee and use their own Web-page formats instead.
Though 30/30 is aimed at community banks and credit unions, First Data is also offering standard and custom Internet banking plans for midsize financial institutions. Costs for those plans start at $75,000, said Randall O. Kahn, First Data's Los Angeles-based president of direct banking.
"We are not selling something we dump on the front door," said Mr. Kahn. "Here is an opportunity to add value to customers who are looking for something besides a computer that sits in their office."
The deal is a boost for Home Financial Network and its "ATM in every home" ambition.
"Our goal has been to serve all of the country's banks, and we can only do it in partnership with a processor," said Daniel M. Schley, the venture's chief executive officer. "It will now allow us to serve the banks that fall into First Data's categories."
The alliance should help Home Financial Network make its core product "much more affordable for smaller financial institutions, particularly banks under $500 million," said Edward L. Neumann, director in Dove Associates' Washington office.
He said McLean, Va.-based Online Resources and Communications Corp. has successfully been appealing to small and midsize banks, but "the market is large enough so that all ships are going to rise with the tide."
The complete NetPrecision service, which lets consumers check balances, transfer funds, and initiate payments, is proving popular with some institutions that did not expect a broad base of customers to use the Internet.
"We thought it would just be the computer geeks, but it is popular straight across the board," said Darren W. Jenks, Internet banking coordinator of $1.1 billion-asset Amarillo National Bank in Texas.
Expanding into home banking from its transaction processing base, First Data has 11 other financial institutions using NetPrecision. Half of them have assets exceeding $5 billion.