Beneficial National Bank said it will invite Compuserv users to apply on-line for loans of up to $10,000 - and get a decision within two minutes.

When the service becomes operational next month, the Beneficial Corp. subsidiary said, it will be the first in the United States to offer real-time loan approval. A Canadian bank currently does the same over the Internet.

In September, Beneficial will offer loans from its World Wide Web site.

"Most on-line banks are primarily informational or have a focus on deposits," said Robert W. Pierce, president of the Wilmington, Del.-based banking unit. "Inside the Beneficial family, credit granting is the core competency."

Users entering Compuserve's banking area will be able to call up an electronic loan form and submit their financial data to Beneficial on-line. Computers in the bank's customer service center will analyze the information, request a credit check, and return an approval or denial in as little as 30 seconds.

After credit is granted, the applicant has the option of accepting or rejecting the loan. Beneficial plans to offer monthly payment personal loans at rates ranging from 9.9% to 19%.

A variety of banks offer credit card and loan application information on the Internet or through on-line services. Only Bayshore Trust of Toronto offers a real-time decision, but electronic loans are likely to proliferate in the near future.

"This will prove that on-line banking can bring in the profits," said Jim Bruene, publisher of the Seattle-based newsletter Online Banking Report. "Managers can track and measure the loans that come off the Web just as they would any other product."

Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman of $15 billion-asset Beneficial Corp., said, "Beneficial recognizes that on-line services hold the key to a new generation of consumers."

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