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IBM Japan to Offer Call Center, Web Site for Banks    
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Xinhua News Agency IBM (NYSE: IBM) Japan will by the end of this month start offering call center and Web site operation services for financial institutions providing online banking services, the online edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported this weekend. The services will be designed to meet the growing demand for countering "spyware"-based online crimes, such as sneaking into personal computers and stealing clients' account numbers, the report said, citing unidentified company sources.

Better Security The number of such crimes has been rapidly increasing since the beginning of this year. By offering the services, IBM Japan aims to help financial institutions secure greater customer trust. The company will strive to win contracts for the services from 20 banks in the first year, the report said. IBM Japan has already invested about 1 billion yen (US$8.8 million) to build facilities necessary to provide the services in Makuhari business district, Chiba Prefecture. Reducing Costs The new services, which will also include strict user identification, will reduce clients' investments in increasing systems security as well as their systems operations and maintenance costs, the report said. The services are expected trim clients' overall costs related to their online banking services by an average of 30 percent, it said.
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