NU Online News Service, Sept. 13, 3:16 p.m. – Software companies may have a tough time profiting from the boom in Web-based small-business banking services, according to a new report from Meridien Research, Newton, Mass.

U.S. banks are still making more use of the Internet to reach small businesses, and 75% will probably offer Web-based transactional services for small businesses by 2005, Meridien analysts predict.

Many of banks’ current Web software contracts are about to expire.

But most big banks will stick with their current vendors, and most small banks will gravitate toward a small number of vendors that have great relationships with the core transaction-processing companies, the Meridien analysts write.