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OFX Consortium Releases Automatic 1-Way OFX Specification.

New Technology Makes It Easier for Financial Institutions to Directly Connect With Customers Online and Through Financial Management Software

The Open Financial Exchange (OFX) Consortium today announced public availability of the Automatic 1-Way OFX specification. This new specification provides banks, credit unions and brokerages of varying sizes with a choice when it comes to electronically exchanging account data with their customers.

(Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )

Based on their resources and business needs, financial institutions can choose to deploy the new Automatic 1-Way OFX specification or a full 2-way OFX server. The Automatic 1-Way OFX specification enables seamless downloading of account statements from a financial institution's site into personal finance software, such as Microsoft(R) Money and Intuit's Quicken(R) and QuickBooks(R), or account aggregation software offered at many financial institution sites, providing consumers with a more complete picture of their finances. Full 2-way OFX allows, in addition to statement downloads, payment transmission, money transfers and e-mail exchange between financial institutions and their customers.

Developed under the OFX Aggregation Services Working Group (ASWG) initiative, the latest Automatic 1-Way OFX specification draft document, available for download at http://www.ofx.net/ofx/downloads/collaborate/aggregation/automaticonewayofx05. doc, complements the existing OFX 1.02, 2.0, 2.01 and 2.0.2 versions, and simplifies automated delivery of account information in a format that many financial institutions are already providing on their Web sites. The new specification is the result of the consortium's ongoing efforts to make it easier and cheaper for financial institutions to offer direct statement data and account management solutions to their customers. In addition to Parsam Technologies LLC ("uMonitor"), which is serving as chair of the effort, and Microsoft Corp. , which is chief architect for this effort, other key contributors include Citigroup, Fidelity Investments, Intuit Inc. and Teknowledge Corp. Public comments are welcome at this time before the draft is voted into final specification in March.

"As a co-founder of the OFX Consortium, Microsoft is committed to developing technologies that simplify how financial institutions interact with their customers online and through finance software such as Microsoft Money," said Greg Martin, financial products connectivity evangelist at Microsoft. "The Automatic 1-Way OFX specification is a testament for developing open standards through OFX that make it easier, faster and more accurate for financial institutions to deliver account data to their customers."

"The OFX founders have demonstrated that OFX is truly an open standard for the financial industry, where technology providers like Parsam Technologies, the developer of the uMonitor platform, work in an open forum with financial institutions and other service providers to develop new extensions that make it easy for consumers to get the data they want, where they want it," said Dinesh Sheth, CEO of Parsam Technologies and chairman of the OFX ASWG. "This new Automatic 1-Way OFX release will improve reliability of data exchange with Web services and reduce the cost of delivery of OFX data for financial institutions without investment in OFX servers."

OFX Adoption

Since the first version of OFX became available for download from the OFX Consortium in early 1997, the specification has become more open and has grown to support a wide range of financial activities. With more than 2,200 financial services companies using OFX, the specification is also the most widely adopted open standard for the exchange of financial information between consumers and financial services providers. The OFX Consortium welcomes input from all interested parties to extend the open standard. The standard is governed by a consortium of leading financial institutions and technology providers that discuss and vote on the advancements of OFX specifications.

"Because of its lower implementation costs, 1-way OFX downloading has seen great adoption over the years. This new specification builds on the existing platform, allowing financial institutions to provide customers with a better download experience without making major changes to their existing OFX infrastructure," said Gil Clark, OFX program manager at Intuit. "And because customers go through fewer steps to get the data using Automatic 1-Way OFX, they are less likely to require technical assistance from their financial institution."

"It is heartening that industry competitors could work together to create an OFX standard that serves all the financial institutions in the field," said Neil Jacobstein, president and CEO at Teknowledge. "We believe that this development will greatly increase the adoption of OFX servers, as well as enable high-quality aggregation services, both of which Teknowledge delivers to financial institutions."

About the OFX Specification

OFX is a unified specification for the electronic exchange of financial data between financial institutions, businesses and consumers via the Internet. It is designed to support a wide range of financial activities including consumer and small-business banking, consumer and small-business bill payment, and investments transaction download, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Today, more than 2,200 financial institutions, both large and small, support OFX solutions through products such as Intuit's Quicken, QuickBooks and Microsoft Money. Many Web-based products benefit from OFX as well because OFX offers greater integrity of data and enhanced features and functionality.

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax(R) software, simplify small business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries(R) and Lacerte(R) are Intuit's leading tax preparation software suites for professional accountants.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of nearly $1.9 billion in its fiscal year 2004. The company has nearly 7,000 employees with major offices in 13 states across the U.S., and offices in Canada and the United Kingdom. More information can be found at http://www.intuit.com/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

NOTE: Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Karissa Sams of Weber Shandwick, +1-425-452-5442, or ksams@webershandwick.com, for Microsoft; or Dinesh Sheth of Parsam Technologies, +1-901-757-1212, ext. 102, or dinesh@umonitor.com; or Clint Bagley of Access Communications, +1-415-844-6250, or cbagley@accesspr.com, for Intuit; or Rodney Robinson of Teknowledge, +1-650-494-5422, or rodney@teknowledge.com

Web site: http://www.intuit.com/

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/
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Date:Feb 10, 2005
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