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IBM gets into home banking business

IBM and ten leading financial institutions will form a new home banking company.

    IBM has joined ten leading financial institutions to form a new home banking company pitched head-to-head against Microsoft and Intuit, according to today's Wall Street Journal.

    The computer maker will retain a stake in the alliance, as well as provide the technology, according to the report. IBM representatives refused to confirm or deny the deal.

    Tentatively called INET, the service would allow users to pay bills, transfer funds, obtain mortgage rates, and communicate with customer service representatives via their PCs, IBM's global communications network, and eventually over the Internet, according to the report.

    The following banks reportedly have signed on to the joint venture: BankAmerica, NationsBank, Fleet Financial Group, First Bank System, Royal Bank of Canada, BayBanks, KeyCorporation, Banc One, and Barnett Banks. The report did not identify the tenth bank.

    The report also states that IBM's customized software will allow each bank to brand the software that delivers the service with its own name, instead of providing customers with other applications such as Microsoft's Money or Intuit's Quicken.

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