Whatever happened to account aggregation?

You remember account aggregation? It was the magical land where investors would be able to see all their holdings, their mortgage equity, and frequent flyer miles.

The topic comes to mind because one of the leaders of account aggregation, Yodlee recently launched Yodlee AccountOpening, which it says will make it easier for financial institutions to reduce the risk associated with opening online accounts. The steps include verification of ownership of accounts and identity verification. Notice that it is not an aggregation product.

The press release archive on Yodlee's Web site tells the story. In 2003, the company posted six press releases, four of them had the words "account aggregation" in the headline. Fifteen press releases have been issued since. Only one mentions aggregation in the headline. Has anyone heard the word "aggregation" as a selling point with a software product recently? Many believe it was great to see the value of equity holdings frequently when they were going up every day. Of course, that process ended some time ago.

But aggregation may be one of those things that needs time for businesses and consumers to see a need for the service, for technology to go hand in hand with a change of thinking in the market.

It doesn't appear to be dead. Intuit is advertising for a vice president and business leader for its Intuit Financial Institutions Group, a position that will be responsible for enterprise offerings for financial institutions. This includes Customer Central, the former TekPortal, a data aggregation technology that Intuit acquired in August. This is a big deal since the Intuit ad on Monster.com calls the position one of the few crucial ones in the company.

Since a search of the Intuit Web site yields no hits for the term, "Customer Central," it's likely this technology will surface in the next year or so. But maybe it's not aggregation. TekPortal also supported online account opening and authentication services, the same things that get more attention these days at Yodlee.

And just maybe, Intuit has vendors like Yodlee square it its sights for the entire range of financial applications.

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