OneCore Financial Network Inc., which has attracted 5,000 small-business users of its online services in its two years in business, is now letting banks private-label and resell its services.
Previously, only customers with OneCore money market accounts had access to the companys full set of offerings, which include bill payment, 401(k), leasing, loans, consolidated cash management, credit and merchant accounts, and payroll.
Under the Open OneCore program, initiated Oct. 29, any bank can offer the Bedford, Mass.-based companys services to their small-business customers.
Weve had a lot of interest from banks, though none have yet signed up for Open OneCore, said Jack Littman-Quinn, president and chief executive officer.
Financial services companies are stepping up efforts to attract small businesses, but the market remains largely underserved by banks, which typically focus on retail and large corporate accounts, Mr. Littman-Quinn said. Some banks may be unwilling or unable to invest the millions needed to set up a small-business Internet portal, he said. A large number of banks arent going to do it, so thats where we see an opportunity for us to do something powerful.
OneCores services would cost a financial institution $300,000 to $500,000 in licensing fees and about another $200,000 a year in transaction fees, Mr. Littman-Quinn said.
He said one advantage for business owners is in having services provided through a fully integrated site, and thus having to enter data only once to pull up a consolidated business statement. OneCore also notifies business owners when bills are overdue, when account balances fall below a certain level, or when payroll is coming due.
Notifications can be tailored to the client. For example, an alert could be set up to flag potentially fraudulent transactions.
Tim Ward, the owner of overnightlobster.com, a Portsmouth, N.H., company that offers home delivery of live lobsters, clams, and chowder, became a OneCore customer after contacting numerous banks that could not give him the online transaction services he sought.
An Internet search turned up OneCore, which has helped Mr. Ward free up time that would otherwise be spent processing credit card transactions, he said. The service lets him check on transactions, deposits, and pending orders at one site.
Its all there at my fingertips, 24/7, Mr. Ward said. Its great. And they are a real-time processor.
OneCore chairman and founder Barry L. Star, who has a background in software development, started the company after becoming annoyed that a local bank had charged him 85 cents to deposit a $100,000 check into his business account. He began compiling a list of frustrations business owners faced in dealing with financial institutions, and it would guide his design of the dream array of services that I had wanted as a small-business owner.
This platform was built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, said Mr. Littman-Quinn, who has been involved with two other technology start-ups. We set it up as if we were using it ourselves. Its very hard for a large financial institution to get into the shoes of an entrepreneur and figure out what a small entrepreneur is going to need.