The home banking technology provider Corillian Corp. has emerged a winner in SunTrust Banks Inc.'s merger with Crestar Financial Corp. of Richmond, Va.

Atlanta-based SunTrust has opted to use the Beaverton, Ore., vendor's Internet banking software, which has been in use at Crestar for the past 18 months.

SunTrust, which bought Crestar on Dec. 31, had offered PC banking through Intuit Inc.'s Quicken and QuickBooks software and Microsoft Corp.'s Money, but it had not yet purchased an Internet-based package like Corillian's.

"It was a very timely acquisition," said John J. McGuire, president and chief executive officer of SunTrust On-Line, which expects to make Internet banking available in July. Kirk Wright, president of Corillian, said: "We have been able to secure and maintain that relationship since SunTrust acquired Crestar. We're pretty excited about the news to keep the whole relationship."

"I think SunTrust made a good decision to go with Crestar's system," said Christopher Musto, senior analyst at Gomez Advisors in Concord, Mass. "SunTrust will probably see a pent-up demand for the service that may exceed 10% of its customer base."

He said some "interesting features" in Crestar's Internet banking implementation include the ability "to apply for a new account at Crestar or close an account at another bank-and that's an aggressive stance."

SunTrust was the first bank to install a connection to Quicken for banking over personal computer, in October 1995. But the $93 billion-asset bank has not maintained a trend-setting pace on the Internet.

"SunTrust is a little behind the curve but has not left an enormous amount of money on the table," said Sean Ryan, bank analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York. "There is no large financial return to being cutting-edge yet."

The Georgia banking company's Web site mostly provides information. It lets people apply for credit cards, loans, and PC banking software, but does not provide access to accounts. One in three SunTrust PC banking accounts is opened over the Internet, Mr. McGuire said. The site also provides links to Intuit's TurboTax software, for filing electronic tax returns.

The bank is at a "natural stage" to add transactional features, Mr. McGuire said. "We very quickly want to let customers do anything they could do at the branch or call center on the Internet."

SunTrust established an on-line division in June 1997 to centrally oversee remote banking activities. The unit, which handles PC and Internet banking and call center activities, has consolidated 18 call centers into four.

Corillian's Windows NT-based Voyager software would provide SunTrust customers with real-time access to financial data through standard Web browsers or the Quicken and Money software.

Corillian's OFX server, which lets customers gain access to their accounts through Quicken and Money, "was a requirement for sure," Mr. McGuire said.

Mr. McGuire said SunTrust is "looking at" a bill payment warehouse capability that Corillian offers, which would let it process its "on-us" checks. It also is talking to Checkfree Corp. about an alternative to that process. "We'll go with whichever is the better deal economically," Mr. McGuire said.

SunTrust also is "looking at" bill presentment, Mr. McGuire said, but expects first to be delivering bank statements to customers by next year.

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