Bank of America, Chemical Bank, AT&T and Time Inc. will jointly offer home banking and other electronic services, the four firms announced Monday.
The services, which will include discount brokerage and retail shopping, initially will be offered to the approximately 37,000 homes and small businesses that currently belong to home banking programs run by the two banks.
The venture will be tried first in California and New York later this summer if federal regulatory approvals are granted, the four companies said in a statement. Expansion nationwide is planned, they said.
The venture appears to be an acknowledgement by the banks that their proprietary home banking programs have failed to grow as quickly as expected. By combining resources and sharing costs, the four firms hope to reduce the risk of large and protracted losses.
"We decided this would be better than inventing the wheel ourselves. We sought out a group of partners who could put different legs on the stool," said Thomas A. Cooper, executive vice president of Bank of America and chief of its home banking program.
The electronic banking service will offer banking transactions such as money transfer and balance inquiries, checkbook record keeping and bill paying. It also will provide the capability and guidance to do home budgeting, the companies said.
The brokerage services will include stock quotes, portfolio valuation, tax and trade records and the purchase and sale of stocks and options.
Subscribers will need a personal computer or terminal, a modem and a video display.