Edify Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif. announced an alliance with Checkfree Corp. at the recent Bank Administration Institute Retail Delivery '97 conference.
Edify, an on-line banking software company, said it will work with Atlanta-based Checkfree on bill presentment and payment processing.
The California company thus becomes a Checkfree E-Bill program partner. But it also intends to support multiple processing partners, including a connection to MSFDC, the joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and First Data Corp.
Atlanta Internet Bank will be the Edify-Checkfree pioneer for bill presentment, working with billers in the Southeast.
Edify also said it would support the Open Financial Exchange, or OFX, on-line data exchange standard in the next version of EBS, its Electronic Banking System.
Effective in January, EBS will use the OFX protocol to connect with Checkfree for billing information as well as to exchange banking, billing, and payment information with personal financial management software such as Intuit Inc.'s Quicken and Microsoft's Money.
Edify is building EBS on top of Microsoft's Internet Finance Server Tool Kit, code-named Marble, which allows multiple access devices for "anytime, anywhere, any way" banking.
Harris Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago is to become the first Edify customer on an OFX platform using Marble across three channels-interactive voice response, Web banking, and personal financial management software.
"The complex part is connecting the back office," said William A. Soward, Edify's director of financial applications marketing. "But Edify can connect to the legacy system through real-time links."
In a third announcement, Edify said it was forming a Small Business Banking Advisory Council to find out how best to deliver small-business Web banking programs for financial institutions.
Small businesses are "major profit centers for banks," said Mr. Soward, "and the best opportunity for banks is to make Internet banking take off around the small-business owners. They are likely to do things on-line for business and personal use."
Representatives of five banks-Fifth Third, Cincinnati; Mercantile, St. Louis; Zions, Salt Lake City; Harris; and Comerica, Detroit-sit on the council that will help design a small-business product. Fifth Third would run the pilot test.
Edify has 40 banks worldwide licensed to use EBS, including Chase Manhattan Corp. Nine are "in production," and several more will go live in January.
Also at the retail delivery conference, Quadravision Communication Ltd. of Toronto said it was working with Netscape Communications Corp. on a product called Vision Banking for financial services clients.
Their strategy is to integrate Quadravision's ME! Relationship System with the Netscape One application development platform and Netscape SuiteSpot server software.
Quadravision said the program will be adopted by some current customers, including Fleet Financial Group, PNC Bank Corp., Summit Bank of New Jersey, New York Life, and Sun Life of Canada.
"Unless you think of content, interactivity, and transactions working together on the consumer side, you're not leveraging the power of the Internet," said John Long, president and CEO of Quadravision. The ME! software lets banks build transaction-based content while the Vision Banking tool uses the ME! engine, which holds the profile of the individual, to filter the content in a browser-based, bank-branded environment.
"It is a win for the bank by providing intelligent cross-sell," said Mr. Long, and "it's a win for the customer because the bank builds up trust and the application becomes more valuable with personalized information."
GOOItech Inc. of Schaumburg, Ill., introduced WECexpress, the first transportable and digital wireless automated teller machine.
GOOItech had previously developed WECatm, which it said was the first digital wireless ATM for the banking industry. WECexpress lets financial institutions gain sponsorship recognition as they reach customers at mobile, seasonal, or temporary locations such as sporting events, fairs, and festivals.
CUC International, the computer-based marketing company that is merging with HFS Inc., is offering to help banks become a "primary channel" for Internet services.
CUC Strategic Marketing in Nashville said its ESP-Electronic Strategy Planning-product gives banks "the means to provide a huge array of on-line services and products," including banking, insurance, brokerage, and discount shopping, said Greg Constantine, vice president of the unit.
All would be under the bank's brand. "We are not telling banks that their primary business is not banking," he said. "But we are urging them to leverage consumers' trust in banks and do whatever it takes to keep them coming back to their Web sites."
Sybase Inc. and Transaction Information Systems combined to announce HumanActive Sales Assistant, a product to enhance call center efforts.
Based on Sybase's Jaguar CTS transaction server, the system enables a bank telemarketer, sales representative, loan officer, or broker to take customer information over the phone, enter it into the computer system, and then "push" resulting product information back to the consumer over the Internet for review.
The vendors called it a unique example of a "two-way collaborative push."
"While the Web has made self-service purchasing a reality, over 50% of financial products still require human expertise," said Bob Gold, president of New York-based TIS. "The next generation of successful call centers will have the power to combine personal selling with the visual impact the Web can provide."
First Data Corp., the leading credit card processor, introduced QuicKardz, a system for fast issuance of credit and debit cards at branch offices.
Software from First Data Resources of Omaha is built into a high-speed card production unit from DataCard Corp., Minneapolis, to create a "turnkey system." The customers "can start using their cards immediately, which starts the revenue stream for our clients sooner," said First Data senior vice president Tim Rosenthal.
Earnings Performance Group of Short Hills, N.J., introduced its Central Administration System, a client/server customer service system running on Digital Equipment Corp. AlphaServers.
The application can put all bank departments under a common set of processing rules, improving productivity and customer service efficiency.
"This marriage of our leading-edge software with AlphaServer technology (and Oracle data bases) provides clients an opportunity to leapfrog intermediate technology steps and move to the forefront in customer service application technology," said Joseph Halpin, chairman and chief executive officer of Earnings Performance Group.