First Union Corporation, an international financial services provider, and Fasturn, Inc, the next-generation technology and business solution provider for the apparel industry, are creating the first global Internet-based financial transaction solution that will allow companies to make high-dollar, global, business-to-business purchases without leaving the Internet or reentering data.

Live since May 2000, Fasturn has been facilitating B2B ecommerce transactions for some of the apparel industry's leading retail buyers, manufacturers and suppliers. Now, with the integration of Fasturn and First Union's solutions, users will be able to make large-scale, cross-border, financial transactions without leaving the Internet as early as December.

Until now, B2B exchanges generally provided electronic invoices, but buyers had to print out invoices and route manually or re-key information into existing enterprise resource planning and banking systems. Fasturn's network captures all the data necessary to populate a purchase order that can be conveyed to third party organisations such as First Union, which will then issue letters of credit. The Fasturn/First Union solution will capture all the traditionally required information including product specifications, quantity, shipment specifications and authorisations for letters of credit directly within the Fasturn site.

When a buyer using this new solution submits an order, the original order data is converted to one or multiple purchase orders that may be seamlessly transferred to First Union. The logic within First Union's AutoLC technology will generate and present to the bank's customer the pro-forma LC application within the Fasturn website. Once approved by First Union, the letter of credit will be instantly transmitted to First Union's Global Operations Centers for issuance. The technology will also allow for purchase orders and letters of credit to be amended through a single operating platform.

After the initial release of this capability in December, it is anticipated that First Union and Fasturn will integrate the bank's CyberXport offering, which will enable vendors to see real-time LCs issued in their favor without having to wait for their local bank to mail out the hard copy.

"This is the first truly integrated letter of credit solution within a sophisticated e-commerce offering," said Simon Constantinides, director within First Union's global trade services group. "Until this time, cross-border B2B e-commerce transactions, requiring credit support in excess of credit card thresholds, were initiated and settled outside of core B2B e-commerce environments albeit through a web-based platform. By working with Fasturn, First Union will be able to provide true web-based letter of credit processing capabilities to its clients within the Fasturn direct procurement network."

"By joining forces with a globally established and innovative bank like First Union for the design and implementation of front and back office support, this first-to-market solution will give the mutual customers of Fasturn and First Union a significant savings in time and expense as well as improved accuracy regarding global financial transactions and documentation," said Belita Ong, senior vice president, business development, Fasturn.

About Fasturn
Based in Los Angeles with offices in New York; Seoul, Korea; and Hong Kong and agents around the world, Fasturn, Inc delivers the next generation of sourcing solutions for the apparel industry. Fasturn's proprietary technology enables pre-qualified buyers and sellers to streamline sourcing and production, delivering increased margins and workflow efficiencies. Fasturn's private marketplace allows retailers and manufacturers to work with existing suppliers and customers in a secure and private network. Fasturn's global marketplace aggregates the fragmented communities of garment suppliers, agents and buyers delivering significant cost savings by uncovering new sourcing opportunities, condensing the time for sourcing and offering real-time tracking of the production and procurement cycle.

About First Union
First Union, with $258bn in assets and stockholders' equity of $14bn at June 30, is a leading provider of financial services to 15 million retail and corporate customers throughout the US. The company operates full-service banking offices in 12 East Coast states and Washington, D.C., and full-service brokerage offices in 41 states and international offices worldwide. Online banking products and services can be accessed through .