Online Resources and Communications Corp. is aiming for a wider audience.

Known primarily as a provider of home banking technology for community banks, the McLean, Va., company is stepping up its marketing to brokerage firms and sizable regional banking companies.

It recently announced that its largest customer, $31 billion-asset First Nationwide Holdings Inc.'s California Federal Bank unit, is testing its personal computer banking products.

Online Resources also has signed a series of alliances aimed at increasing its presence in the credit union market.

In addition, it is trying to be seen as an alternative to Checkfree Corp., the leader in automated bill-payment processing, and it announced a partnership with Thomson Investors Network, a company owned by the parent of American Banker, to provide investment information to financial institutions.

"We want to be a one-stop shop for the financial institutions, and the financial institutions want to be a one-stop shop for their consumers," said Matthew P. Lawlor, chairman and chief executive officer of Online Resources.

Mr. Lawlor said the company's alliances with credit union technology providers - such as Co-op Network, Cardinal Services Corp., Credit Union Service Corp., Computer Marketing Corp., SOS Computer Systems Inc., and Ultradata - are entries in a market that is a natural extension of Online Resources' historical strength.

Richard M.M. McConnell, vice president of marketing for Aftech, a credit union software supplier recently acquired by Fiserv Inc., said Online Resources' ability to facilitate payments through automated teller machine networks is appealing.

"We already have a bill payment program of our own, but it is most effective in a local area," he said. Online Resources' ATM-based system lets Aftech deliver services that credit unions can offer anywhere, he said.

Pamela K. White, vice president of electronic banking at CalFed, said Online Resources' systems free the bank from introducing new procedures for the balancing of on-line accounts.

"The technology changes so rapidly that it is kind of nice not to have to be in the driver's seat," said Ms. White. "We want to learn from what Online Resources does and then make a decision about whether we can bring the service back in-house."

Some observers say Online Resources faces challenges. One is its ability to prove it can "actually get customers on-line," said Edward L. Neumann, director in the Washington office of Dove Associates. Online Resources has agreed to provide home banking support to 225 financial institutions, but only 61 are up and running.

Others point out that supporting a wide range of services could prove difficult.

"Everybody is scared they will commit too many resources and marketing efforts to the wrong horse," said David G. Koto, executive vice president for Brintech Inc., a community bank technology consulting company based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

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