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Bank venture gets green light

Integrion Financial Network, an online banking partnership between IBM and 16 major banks, receives regulatory approval and funding.

Integrion Financial Network, an online consumer banking partnership between IBM (IBM) and 16 major North American banks, announced today that it has received regulatory approval and funding from each partner.

Once funding commitments are fulfilled, Integrion will have $68 million in capital, contributed equally by each partner.

Two banks in the alliance, Bank One and NationsBank expect to launch pilots using Integrion's technology deployment early this year. Other owner banks will introduce Integrion-based services later in 1997.

Announced September 9, Integrion has hired a management team, created a board, and won approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board.

"We are now focused on rapidly building transaction volume across the network as owner and customer banks connect to Integrion in 1997," William M. Fenimore Jr., Integrion managing director, said in a statement.

Integrion will use the IBM Global Network infrastructure to offer a range of electronic commerce services to consumers. Web-based services also will be offered.

The Integrion structure gives banks a way to build online services for their customers, under the bank's brand name, without going through a software company such as Intuit or Microsoft or through another intermediary. It also is designed to give Integrion bank a voice in developing e-commerce standards.

Integrion members serve more than 60 million households, representing more than half the retail banking population in North America, according to the company.

The owners of Integrion are: ABN AMRO North America, Banc One, Bank of America, Barnett Bank (BBI), Comerica, First Bank System, First Chicago NBD, Fleet Financial Group (FLT), IBM, KeyCorp, Mellon Bank, Michigan National Bank, NationsBank, Norwest, PNC Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Washington Mutual.

That list excludes one of the most aggressive banks on the Net, Wells Fargo, which is offering similar banking services without using Integrion technology.