June 06, 2001, 12:00 AM — People have always wanted integrated access to their banking,
investing, and insurance accounts, and solutions are now becoming
available that bring these functions together in unified Net-based
applications. Until recently the technology for multi-database
aggregation was only skin deep.
Using a method known as screen scraping, early technologies allowed
connected individuals to view their accounts as static information from
multiple locations, but this information was cumbersome and often not
available for transactions across domains. New technologies allow the
aggregation of financial databases into single unified application
environments. These Net-based aggregation engines are being offered
through the application service provider (ASP) model to portals and
financial institutions of various stripes.
Financial institutions, normally slow to adopt new technologies, are
being driven by customer demand for real-time access to financial
functions. Meanwhile, deregulation and the growing adoption of Net-
based computing standards are giving these institutions the necessary
tools to offer their connected customers a wider latitude of function.
New standards such as Open Financial Exchange (OFX)
(http://www.ofx.net/ofx/default.asp) and direct connection agreements
with partner financial institutions are providing the technical means
for delivering diverse financial information into unified environments.
Each method has advantages, but OFX avoids the silo effect created by
third party aggregators