Oakland, Calif.-based PropertyBridge, a MoneyGram International company and provider of electronic rent payment services to the multifamily housing industry, has reached an agreement with Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Merrill Lynch to provide electronic rent payment functionality to Bank of America’s multifamily clients. Announced Feb. 4 during MoneyGram's 2009 fourth-quarter and year-end earnings call, the deal enables Bank of America to offer Property Bridge’s automated e-payment solutions to its multifamily clients and fulfills a functionality void that the bank says its clients had been clamoring for.

“We had identified a specific payments platform need for our multifamily clients, particularly the need to consolidate payment functionalities and integrate into back-end accounting systems,” said Bank of America Merrill Lynch senior vice president Rick Bridwell in an exclusive interview with Multifamily Executive conducted prior to the announcement. “As we looked at opportunities to build our own solution or make an acquisition, PropertyBridge stood out to us as a complete package that we were looking for.”

Under the terms of the agreement, multifamily firms banking with Bank of America Merrill Lynch will be provided with PropertyBridge’s payments platform functionalities, which incorporates online, phone, and in-person payments via credit card, check scan, ACH, and electronic check acceptance into one Web-based interface integrated with back-end industry accounting software platforms.

Bank of America claims a primary banking relationship with 40 of the 50 largest property management firms in the industry. “The partnership is a great opportunity for PropertyBridge to be working with the largest banking entity focused on the multifamily industry,” said PropertyBridge vice president Vicki Keller of the agreement. “It’s a great marriage for them to facilitate the use of our platform, and we’re looking forward to the collaboration.”

According to Keller and Bridwell, Bank of America and PropertyBridge plan on cross-promotional branding and collaborative sales and marketing outreach as part of the partnership. Details of those efforts will be finalized as customers are acclimated to the functionality provided under the agreement. “It’s kind of like Dell powered by Intel, but this is going to be Bank of America powered by PropertyBridge,” Bridwell said. “Most importantly, the partnership will help our customers better manage liquidity—very important in any environment, but especially in today’s environment.”