CASHLESS, NOT BANKLESS

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE TRYING TO MASTER THE TECHNOLOGY THAT COULD RENDER SOME OBSOLETE

After watching everyone from Microsoft to Meca Software gobble up online-banking customers, banks have become eager to prove that they're not headed for extinction. Last week IBM and a group of 15 U.S. and Canadian banking behemoths, including Bank of America, Banc One and Mellon Bank, unveiled a venture that aims to provide a full range of financial services to the banks' 60 million customers at the touch of a telephone button or the click of a mouse. Called Integrion, the partnership will phase in such activities as bill paying, electronic lending and stock and bond trading beginning next year. "If...

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