Online Resources and Communications Corp. has moved into cyberspace with an on-line directory of all financial companies that use the Internet and a service to help banks get started in doing so.
The Mclean, Va.-based company, whose basic business is providing home banking and bill payment to financial institutions, is offering the new services on the World Wide Web, the multimedia portion of the Internet.
A user clicking on a company name in the new directory is automatically linked to the company's "home page," which provides information about its products, services, and pricing.
Users also get access to industry news, updated daily, through links to company press releases posted on the network, and articles posted by on- line content providers Online Resources is establishing relationships with.
Among the companies listed in the directory are the 58 banks around the world that have home pages on the Web, as well as 11 financial services companies such as Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard International.
Joe Koshuta, Online Resources' director of product planning, said the directory was designed to provide an easy way to keep up with the latest developments in the interactive financial services market.
An increasing number of banks and financial services companies are using the Internet as a marketing and advertising medium, posting information about their products and services.
Mr. Koshuta said bankers are "are facing paralysis because there are so many options" - third-party providers that offer hardware and software, electronic banking services, and support services to the financial industry.
"With a comprehensive directory," he said, "we hope to make it easier for people to stay on top of new products and services, emerging trends, development efforts, and companies serving the industry."
The Web is inexpensive advertising, considering the number of people that can be reached, Mr. Koshuta said. But the Internet is still new to many bankers. To help them showcase their wares on it, Online Resources is offering a home-page development service.
The service will take on the tasks involved with posting information on the network. Online will develop and maintain the subscriber's home page, manage electronic mail from people responding to the information, and track who "visits" the page.
A starter development kit costs $2,000, which includes the development and registration of 10 pages of information. There's also a monthly fee of $200.
Mr. Koshuta said the service fits with Online Resources' device- independent home banking strategy. The company supports the ability to provide access to electronic services through screen telephones and automated touch-tone phone, and will have personal computer access in the third quarter.
Mr. Koshuta said Online Resources plans to help banks develop services to provide account information, and, eventually, bill payment on the Internet.
"We're getting in on the ground floor," he said.