Wachovia Corp. of Winston-Salem, N.C., announced plans to offer access to customer accounts using Internet banking technology from Security First Network Bank.
After testing various versions of a proprietary system and calculating the costs of upgrades, Wachovia opted to deliver services over the World Wide Web using the systems of Security First Technologies, which are showcased at Security First Network Bank in Atlanta.
Along with Huntington Bancshares Inc. of Ohio, the $47 billion-asset Wachovia was one of the original backers of Security First, which went public in May 1996, and has a 3.1% stake.
"We felt a need to jump to another platform that allowed additional flexibility," said Stanhope A. Kelly, senior vice president in Wachovia's consumer banking division. He said upgrades and changes will be much more efficient than on a proprietary system.
"You have to make a decision if you are going to be in the business of software development or the business of locating customers and bringing them to your bank through alliances and partnerships," said Mr. Kelly.
Dubbed Wachovia PC Access, the Internet product will include both investment and banking services. On-line investment accounts will be available through NetVest Inc. of Rockville, Md., in early summer.
On-line banking, including the ability to open accounts, transfer balances, and pay bills through Visa Interactive, will be available in late summer, said Mr. Kelly.
Security First Technologies also recently announced agreements with Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala., and Centura Banks Inc. of Rocky Mount, N.C.
Nine of the 100 largest banking companies are users of Security First technology.