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NORTH AMERICA BYTES

Spectrum EBP signs agreement with Billserv Incorporated; SunTrust Banks licenses platform technology from Corillian Corporation; National Bank of Canada inks deal with Basis 100 for mortgage automation package; United California Bank launches new Web site using NOVO technology.

Spectrum EBP, a bank-centric payment systems company founded by J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, Wachovia Corporation and Wells Fargo, reached an agreement with Billserv, Inc, a leading biller service provider (BSP), to expand the reach of Spectrum's participant financial institutions.

Spectrum is an open and interoperable switch linking billers and consumers through its participant financial institutions to electronically present and pay consumer bills.

Billserv can now distribute its clients' electronic bills to the nearly eight million online consumers served by Spectrum's founding financial institutions. Billserv brings 42 biller relationships representing 84 companies. The first billers to be implemented on the Spectrum system will be sponsored by two of the founding banks, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

"Billserv delivers premier industry billers to the Spectrum network which ultimately benefits all our participants," said Ron Braco, Spectrum's president and COO.

Including six of the top 10 U.S. banks, a total of 22 financial institutions belong to the Spectrum network or have signed letters of intent to participate in the network. Spectrum's expansive reach includes 192 large-industry billers through its strategic alliances with nine technology partners.

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SunTrust Banks has licensed additional technology from Corillian Corp., a leading global provider of eFinance solutions.

SunTrust will now use Corillian's Voyager Internet banking platform to enhance the functionality, scalability and manageability of its online offering. Corillian Voyager is a high-performance platform that allows for the delivery of a wide range of financial services to customers via the Internet. Voyager provides a direct link between a financial institution's host system and its consumers, using Internet browsers, personal financial management software and internet-ready wireless devices. Voyager's open architecture design allows an institution to quickly integrate emerging technologies, deploy the platform in-house or in a secure data center and provide a personalized portal to its customers.

SunTrust was the first major financial institution to utilize the Corillian Voyager platform, which has since been installed by four of the top 10 banks in the U.S.

"We have seen tremendous growth in our customers signing on to our online banking service," said John McGuire, senior vice president and managing director of SunTrust online. "Our customers are demanding new and innovative services through this delivery channel and Corillian has been a great partner in helping us develop an innovative and user-friendly system. This agreement will allow us to provide new functionality and be scalable enough to meet the demands of our online growth."

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National Bank of Canada has signed a multi-year contract to equip its mobile mortgage sales force with Basis100's HomeBASE solution.

The National Bank mobile mortgage sales force will now be able to use their laptops to create a mortgage application and transmit it electronically to its Mortgage Center for approval from a client's home or on the road. The HomeBASE application is connected to National Bank's own credit scoring system, as well as Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) and GE Mortgage Insurance Company, so that decisions can be made quickly and seamlessly without the need to re-key information into multiple systems. This allows the bank's mortgage specialist to provide a faster response to the client and reduces the time and effort in processing the mortgage application.

"Basis100's technology solution will increase efficiencies and service levels, allowing us to provide our clients with the quality of service they deserve," said Jean Houde, senior vice president retail of the National Bank of Canada. "Basis100 has a proven record and an attractive offering. We are continuing discussions with Basis100 to explore other solutions, such as BasisXpress."

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United California Bank, which consists of recently merged Sanwa Bank California and Tokai Bank of California, has launched a new Web site with the help User Experience Design (UED) expertise from NOVO.

The business site is developed to ensure that the distinct goals of product managers, business units, IT leaders and e-business participants were achieved. Steering clear of a site driven by the company's organizational structure, NOVO ensured a customer-centric approach, utilizing intuitive pathways to present comprehensive information about every financial product offered by the newly formed institution.

"NOVO's design and information architecture for the new online arm of United California Bank, resulted in immediate and measurable benefits to our business," said David Espenschied, first senior vice president, e-Business Division, United California Bank. "NOVO understood our business challenges, was able to partner efficiently with upwards of a dozen technology vendors and delivered an enhanced online business channel in a short period of time with minimum expense."

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