So now Intuit owns a bank? What next? A lot.Intuit's recent purchase of Digital Insight, which provides online services to banks, follows a logical series of moves by Intuit into consumer financial services that also have implications for the business market.

The deal itself: Digital Insight provides the online banking and bill payment services for 1,760 institutions. Intuit is paying about $1.35 billion in cash and stock for a company that had $214 million in revenue for 2005 and had $149 million for the first three quarter of 2006.

Intuit is talking about an application that incorporates a QuickBooks online edition and payment services and payroll. It also plans to make online banking more user-friendly, something that Digital Insight president Jeff Stiefler said his products need.

Intuit had already signaled how important payment services and payroll are by combining these product lines into a single reporting unit in the past year.

The company also tipped its hand during the spring when it advertised on a senior-level position for a financial services division. That ad had banking written all over it, since the services were going to incorporate data aggregation, account opening, and authentication services, in what it was calling Customer Central, based on the TekPortal technology it had acquired.

Just how important Intuit believed this all is was indicated by the ad's calling the position one of the few critical ones in the company.

On the software side, online banking had dented sales of Quicken, Intuit's original financial software. But CEO Steve Bennett says that that product's functionality can be rolled into online banking services. Bennett also talked of a "killer app" designed to hit the market next summer, when a new healthcare product would also be released. The new product, whatever it is combining QuickBooks, Quicken, and Internet functionality, is a Web Service to be built upon the Digital Insight platform.

However these products combine, the idea that one company would combine consumer accounting, payroll, payment processing, and online banking is intriguing, since there's at least one other company that has three out of the four of these.

That is Sage with, low-cost accounting (Peachtree), payroll (Abra), and payment processing (Verus Financial Management). Coincidentally, Sage moved into healthcare business earlier this year. It also showed how much it valued payment processing by paying more than five times revenue to snag Verus. And it was on an acquisition binge for its entire fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

So is there any reason we shouldn't expect to see Sage National Bank online?

Why not?

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