Oracle Corp. is making a bid to join the elite among financial service application vendors.

The Redwood Shores, Calif., data base giant, second only to Microsoft Corp. in the software business, announced an extensive vendor-partner strategy with Broadway & Seymour, Cats Software, and HNC Software on a roster of more than 180.

Oracle, which did not offer any banking-specific applications as recently as four years ago,"is in a unique position to ensure that banks, investment firms, and insurance companies maintain a competitive edge," said Rob Cullen, senior director of business development.

Oracle is "stepping up the level of commitment" to banks, said John Dorman, president of Treasury Services Corp., one of the partners.

William Bradway, an analyst at Tower Group in Newton, Mass., said Oracle will "ultimately give banks a set of choices they did not have several years ago."

A competitor disagreed.

Ian Colley, spokesman for International Business Machines Corp., said International Business Machines Corp. began establishing such partnerships "decades earlier" and they include most of the vendors Oracle listed.

He added that IBM's revenues from financial services last year were about $10 billion, nearly 14% of its total and double those of Oracle's.

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