Banks mull BlackBerry options for corporate email

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co and UBS are considering allowing employees to access corporate email using Apple iPhones or other alternatives to their standard-issue Research in Motion BlackBerry.

A switch by these banks would be a further blow for Canada’s RIM, whose shares have slumped recently after certain countries have threatened to ban the Blackberry whose design does not allow them to monitor phone traffic.

U.S. bank JPMorgan is testing the security of iPhones and smartphones that use Google Inc’s Android operating system, a person familiar with the tests said. It is not yet certain that the second-largest U.S. bank by assets would allow employees to switch to other devices, that person added.

A UBS spokesman said the bank is considering allowing employees to use their iPhones for corporate email.

JPMorgan declined to comment.

The banks are among major institutions considering a switch from the once-iconic BlackBerry.

The European Union Commission last month rejected the BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone and HTC smartphones amid concerns over BlackBerry security.

Unlike rivals Nokia and Apple, RIM controls its own networks, which handle encrypted messages through server centers in Canada and Britain.

British bank Standard Chartered said earlier this year it was giving its staff the option to replace the Blackberry with the iPhone, a move that could eventually result in thousands of bankers switching.

Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Richard Chang