Banks Adopt Wireless Technologies

SAN MATEO (07/11/2000) - The banking industry continues to shed its staid image as one financial institution after another rolls out leading edge wireless services to its both its internal sales force and business customers.

Chase Manhattan Bank, in New York City, the third largest financial services company in the U.S., announced on Tuesday a wireless service that will give traders in its Global Markets division real time market updates.

The technology, developed by in San Jose, will work on multiple wireless platforms anyone of which traders may be using, such as cell phones, the Palm Inc. operating system and the RIM 950.

DataLink licenses the electronic market feeds from the exchanges; combining the raw data with parameters set by the traders pushes the filtered data stream down to the wireless device. The system allows the traders to set up a portfolio based on market conditions that they indicate and send queries back through the system.

"The service makes our traders more productive. It keeps them in touch and they are no longer tied to their desks," said a Chase spokesperson.

Hosted by DataLink as an ASP solution, currently the service will not allow for two-way trading transactions. But according to DataLink that will be rolled out in the next phase.

Like most companies Chase does not have a single cell phone standard for employees, so DataLink created the system for five standard cell phone displays.

"There was no way we can modify it for every single cell phone type viewer, but we made it to be a consistent format so that the technology knows enough to format and keep appropriate data together," said Pamela LaPine, a DataLink vice president.

Meanwhile, Wachovia Corp., based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the nation's 16th largest financial institution, announced Tuesday a two-way wireless banking solution for its retail and commercial customers.

The service will aggregate bill payment and give banking customers access to real time account information. The service will also let consumers transfer funds between accounts, and monitor selected stocks.

The system was developed by 724 Solutions Inc., which is headquartered in Toronto, and will work on multiple platforms including cell phones, pagers and personal digital assistants.

Commercial customers will also be able to access treasury functions such as balance and transaction reporting, payment approvals and account notification, according to Wachovia officials.

Rather than presenting a button-downed banking image, the bankers of the new economy appear to want to promote their image as technology leaders.

"Wachovia has established itself as an innovator and technology leader by leveraging the Internet in the development of enhanced financial services," said Lawrence G. Baxter, head of Wachovia's eBusiness Division.

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