Janey A. Place of NationsBank is usually concerned about back rooms, but lately she has been much more than a behind-the-scenes player.

As NationsBank Corp.'s point person in several prominent industry groups-including the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat, a high- powered offshoot of the Bankers Roundtable-Ms. Place is working to ensure that banks stay prominent in the electronic world.

Her charge-to strike a balance between the cooperative and the competitive-is one faced by an increasing number of bankers as they find membership in partnerships, alliances, and consortia essential to technological survival.

Over seven years in banking that included a stint at Wells Fargo & Co., Ms. Place, a former academic, said she had seen bankers become more open to working together.

"Things used to be geared to utilities where the only real goal was to lower costs," said Ms. Place, 51, executive vice president and group executive in NationBank's strategic technology group.

"Now I think the industry is coming together to say, 'Let's share the investment costs and then use our own resources to compete in the areas of technology that actually touch the customers.' "

- Matt Barthel

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