International Business Machines Corp.'s Network Computing Projects unit has completed its first project, a mortgage loan calculator based on the Java programming language, for Cera Bank of Belgium's Internet site.

The program, an example of a Java applet or "little program," can be distributed securely over the Internet, even as the bank maintains its reliance on IBM's OS/2 Warp operating system for retail automation.

Available to clients in Dutch, French, and English, the calculator is the first use of Java-created by Sun Microsystems Inc.-in one of the first comprehensive Internet banking sites in Europe.

"A team of our top developers have been working with Cera Bank to find ways to deliver their banking products via the world of network computing," said John Soyring, director of worldwide technical projects for IBM Personal Software Products and head of the network computing unit.

"At the same time, we're protecting their investments in OS/2 Warp, reducing their cost of ownership and taking advantage of new initiatives such as '100% pure Java."'

The bank said it may go further beyond the traditional client/server computing model by adopting network computing throughout the enterprise.

"IBM is helping us deliver ... truly open solutions that can extend beyond the walls of our enterprise," said Rudi Peeters, electronic banking officer for Cera Bank. "We are pleased with this first step and look forward to working on additional network computing solutions for our clients and employees."

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