CFI ProServices Inc. has added a self-service kiosk as another way to access its Personal Branch home banking software.
The company also announced that it has added a Windows interface to the software, giving personal computer users pointand-click access to all home banking functions, including balance inquiries, bill payment, and other transactions.
Both enhancements are slated for general release in January, officials said.
Portland, Ore.-based CFI, which is known for developing regulatory compliance software for community and midsize banks, originally marketed Personal Branch to credit unions. The company now has 30 customers for the system, four of which are banks, said Matthew Chapman, CFI's chief executive. Fifteen of the credit unions have installed the system and are offering services, he said.
The first bank to buy the system -- Culver National, a $48.5 million-asset community bank based in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City -- hopes to be offering services by November, according to president John Newhouse. The bank will also be looking at the Personal Branch enhancements, he said.
The Windows interface Will benefit customers because it is easier. to use than the current VTI00 terminal communications setup, which uses keyboard commands, said Mr. Chapman.
The touch screen, self-service terminal will provide banks with yet another delivery channel for a program that can already be accessed by PC and screen telephone.
The kiosk has all the capabilities of Personal Branch, plus some extras. For example, by customizing graphics, text, and buttons, banks can program kiosks to dispense information on a variety of products, such as checking and savings, loan rates and terms, and credit cards. Customers can also order checks, choosing font sizes and styles, and print out information, such as a map showing the locations of branches and automated teller machines.
When connected to a bank's host computer, the kiosk provides access to all of the electronic banking functions of Personal Branch.
Self-service terminals will benefit banks, said Mr. Chapman, because they provide an alternative to teller lines, and reduce the cost per transaction.
With kiosks "branches can focus on selling and not on nonvalue-added transactions," he said.
Kiosks can also provide more information than a teller could, such as prices on used-car loans.
One of the first financial institutions to test the kiosk is First Technology Federal Credit Union in Beaverton, Ore. The credit union has installed four units, which provide information and serve as electronic banking terminals.
"Initially, people need to gain a level of confidence in the machinery," said Tom Sargent, president of the credit union. "But once they use them, they like them."
Mr. Sargent views the terminal as a "natural extension to Personal Branch."
The credit union has about 9,000 people, almost 20% of its customers, using Personal Branch.
The credit union has ordered eight more kiosks. The goal, said Mr. Sargent, is to place kiosks at the sites of companies with which the credit union has relationships, to offer those employees access to credit union services.
This will be the credit union's way to expand its reach, he said. In the past, the company expanded by opening one- or two-person branches, but the costs to maintain them became "extreme."
Now, the company will expand using kiosks and ATMs, which will supplement existing branches, reduce delivery costs, provide more convenience, and help the company to gain market share, he said.