In an announcement IBM Corp. Chairman Louis Gerstner dubbed a "landmark," the computer giant and 15 banks, several of them major national players, have launched the Integrion Financial Network. At a New York press conference, Gerstner and bank CEOs said beginning in early 1997, Integrion will offer a broad range of interactive banking and electronic commerce services to banks in the U.S. and Canada.
The network, in development for nearly two years, will hire IBM to run its network services, linking directly into banks' legacy systems. The founding banks are ABN AMRO, KeyCorp., BANC ONE, Mellon Bank, Bank of America, Michigan National Bank, Barnett Bank, NationsBank, Comerica, PNC Bank, First Bank Systems, Royal Bank of Canada, First Chicago, NBD, Washington Mutual Inc. and Fleet Financial Group. Gerstner said IFN would welcome other banks, although the original group will own the network.
IFN will have its own CEO, a search for one is under way, and board of directors. The first test of consumer banking products, from BANC ONE and KeyCorp., are due in November. Gerstner said IFN will offer an open architecture, with standards to be published to encourage software developers to adapt products, including Web browsers, so they can be used on the network. IBM said Integrions' banks represent more than half the retail banking population in North America, over 60 million households. Bank officials said Integrion will offer both public Internet access and parallel private network access, and addressing security and privacy issues. Gerstner said he hoped retailers and airlines would also seek to use the network for electronic commerce.
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