Bank of America and NIC Commerce have established a new company that will offer US state and local government agencies online procurement, purchasing, payment and reconciliation services. The venture, called Banc of America Purchase Street, is being billed as the first Web-based solution to integrate various shopping and payment functions for the public sector.
Through the new company, state and local governments will be able to place orders online with their preferred suppliers, request a quote from businesses for services, process transactions, initiate payments and reconcile transactions.
Customers access and automate the procurement process through a secure Internet connection. Government agencies will be able to personalise their services to reflect preferred suppliers, contract requirements and other conditions via a browser-based catalogue.
The two companies have already signed an agreement to provide electronic procurement services to the Houston-Galveston Area Council of Governments (H-GAC) through December 2005. The H-GAC cooperative purchasing programme helps more than 1100 local governments purchase more than $150 million annually in products such as fire apparatus, cars and light trucks, radios, earth moving equipment, heavy trucks and related service bodies.
Under the agreement with H-GAC, Bank of America will provide payment and other financial services as well as related support services. NIC Commerce will provide electronic procurement software, manage catalogue content and secure software server hosting services.
"We are confident that this solution will offer programme participants a faster, more convenient and more cost-effective way of conducting business," says Bob Wooten, H-GAC programme coordinator.