First Union Corp. has licensed software from Home Account Network Inc. to support Spectrum, the electronic bill payment and presentment joint venture it formed with Chase Manhattan Bank Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. in June.
The banking company said it will use Home Account's Canopy Server to communicate with other banks and billers that participate in Spectrum.
Spectrum, formerly known as Exchange, is designed to link any consumer with any biller over the Internet using the Open Financial Exchange, or OFX, standard.
Canopy, which complies with the OFX specification, is to let First Union communicate billing information to Spectrum as well as to the OFX servers of billers and other banks. Canopy would parse, log, and translate messages to and from Spectrum, which employs an OFX server from Just In Time Solutions Inc.
Home Account's eagerness to adapt to the still evolving OFX standard played a big part in First Union's decision to buy Canopy Server, said Lou Anne Alexander, vice president in First Union's Echannels group.
The Banking Industry Technology Secretariat, a division of the Financial Services Roundtable, has promoted a convergence of OFX with Integrion Financial Network's alternative standard, Gold. The resulting IFX, for Interactive Financial Exchange, still in white-paper form, is to be used for banking, bill payment, and investment information transmission over the Internet.
Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union said it also plans to use Canopy Server in its Internet service to users of Microsoft's Money and Intuit's Quicken personal finance software.
Home Account is "involved with other aspects of Spectrum," said Alix Hoffman, senior vice president of sales at Emeryville, Calif.-based Home Account. He said he anticipates Home Account "will be involved with other Spectrum members" but declined to say whether Chase or Wells Fargo has licensed Canopy Server.
First Union is the third licensee bank for Canopy Server, after First Tennessee Bank and Bank of America.
Since it completed its acquisition of First Data Corp.'s direct banking division in June, Home Account has signed up 16 customers, mostly community banks, for a combination of products, said a spokesman. It also acquired First Data's 60 direct banking customers. Home Account is now working to make First Data's Internet banking products OFX-compliant, he said.
Through First Data, Home Account is able to offer its products, including Canopy Server, in a service bureau mode. As a result of the acquisition, Charles A. White, chief executive officer of Home Account, has said the company aims to have 200 financial institution customers and a $17 million profit this year.