First-time homebuyers who are preparing to sign off on a mortgage loan aren't always cognizant of the sudden long-term financial needs that await them. But savvy financial services providers are."Through the proper customer relationship management technology, we're well positioned to drill down and tailor individual products for customers," David deGorter, president of Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union Insurance Group, explains.

For instance, customers who turn to the parent First Union Corp. for a first-time home mortgage are captured in the system where e-CRM technology determines that because this is their first home, they're probably in the market for an insurance product that both protects them and accrues growth. Within e-CRM,

First Union has implemented a software solution that can wrap several independent business programs-in this case, banking and insurance-around a single architecture to provide an enterprise-wide view of data.

The database integration between First Union Insurance and the parent company captures customer data, accumulates a list of applicants that fall into a "needs" category and ultimately launches an e-mail campaign alerting them to recommended products.

Once a First Union customer establishes a cross-product relationship with the company, many expect single sign-on access to the corporate Web site to seamlessly access and then perhaps modify the accounts and contracts they have with the provider.

IDC, a Framingham, Mass.-based e-business consulting firm, reports that online consumers currently maintain an average of three (and as many as seven or more) log-on IDs and passwords to access their financial accounts through multiple providers.

Customers who log onto to are provided single sign-on accessibility that enables them to seamlessly view all account data. First Union's intuitive system recognizes them as the same customer across disparate product lines.

Over the years, First Union has tweaked its Web interface so that, deGorter explains, it fosters "straight-through processing. It's point-and-click rather than point-wait-and click."

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