Flite Lab in N.Y. a Journey into Virtual Financial Services Series:

Transaction Information Systems Inc. has opened a laboratory in New York aimed at helping financial firms move their business to electronic channels.

Called Flite, for Financial Lab for Interactive Technology, the facility lets banks, brokerage firms, and insurance companies experiment with a variety of software packages for electronic commerce, on-line banking, and other virtual financial services.

Jeffrey Najarian, chief executive officer of Transaction Information Systems, a software developing and consulting company, said Flite is like Disney World in that "it has been built around a theme, but one needs to visit it, to spend time visualizing it."

Vendors providing technology for Flite include Digital Equipment Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Lotus Development Corp., SAP, Sybase Inc., Visa International, Wall Street Trading Desks, and Reuters.

At Flite's downtown Manhattan office, visitors enter through a "Flite portal," surrounded by touch-screen kiosks and computer monitors. They can visit the "Flite deck," which features about 20 financial management services on three "Flite pads:" on-line trading and banking, enterprise applications, and interactive channel delivery.

Visitors also can tinker with various delivery devices in the user interface and visualization cabins.

Bob Gold, president of Transaction Information Systems, said at the laboratory's launch last week that he sees people changing the way they interact with their money.

Innovative financial products could enhance those behavioral changes, he added.

"Because of this we founded Flite, which is all about electronic money and banking," he said.

Mr. Gold expects 50 to 75 business executives to visit Flite each week.

Prudential Investments is using the lab to see how its retirement planning products can be delivered through an interactive kiosk.

If all goes as planned, new Flite facilities will be opened in other U.S. cities next year.

The New York site is also Transaction Information Systems' new headquarters. It has 500 employees and revenues of $30 million. Copyright c 1997 American Banker, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.americanbanker.com