Integrion Financial Network, the home banking consortium of 16 major banks with International Business Machines Corp., has named technology veteran William M. Fenimore Jr. managing director.
Mr. Fenimore, 53, a longtime executive at CoreStates Financial Corp. in Philadelphia, was most recently chief technology officer of Meridian Bancorp. He left that job when CoreStates acquired Meridian this year.
He will be responsible for the infrastructure that will permit financial institutions to offer a variety of home banking options under their own brand names. Consortium members Banc One Corp. and NationsBank Corp. are expected to be the first to offer services through Integrion next year.
"At the moment we are interested in getting the consortium closed in November or December and getting some product into the market by late spring," Mr. Fenimore said last week.
The consortium, a for-profit company with the owner-banks and IBM represented on its board, will be based in Atlanta. Mr. Fenimore will commute from his home in Philadelphia. One of his first priorities will be to build a staff; Integrion currently has three employees.
Mr. Fenimore said he could not comment on whether other banks would be admitted as co-owners, though any bank can use the system. Last month, a spokesman for First Union Corp. said it was considering whether to join, but a source close to the consortium said the subscription period is closed.
Because the members represent more than half the North American retail banking population, Integrion hopes to galvanize a mass market for on-line banking services. No more than 2% to 3% of U.S. households are believed to bank now by personal computer, compared to the 35% to 40% equipped with PCs.
Integrion directors praised Mr. Fenimore for his technology expertise and his creation of Transys, a check processing service company within CoreStates.
"We were very impressed by his background, as well as the business start-up," said Catherine V. Corby, director of retail strategy at Barnett. "We are very concerned that this move at full speed."
After 20 years in management posts at Philadelphia National Bank, as CoreStates was formerly known, Mr. Fenimore in 1985 became chief executive officer of its Hamilton Bank affiliate. From 1988 until his move to Meridian in 1994, he was executive vice president of CoreStates Financial.
Observers said he faces the challenge of maintaining unity among a membership group whose interests may not always mesh.
"He is a very safe choice," said David Weisman of Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. "It would have been interesting if they had picked someone from a technology company who would be aggressive enough to ruffle the feathers of some banks."