Westernbank Puerto Rico has been chosen as the main test site for an Internet banking solution from Fiserv Inc.'s CBS unit.

The CBS system will use Fiserv's standard PC banking software, core banking software from CBS, and Internet banking software from Security First Technologies, a unit of Security First Network Bank in Atlanta.

The pilot, slated to begin in about two months, is aimed at reducing paper traffic at the bank's branches.

Bank executives said they will consider incorporating smart cards and biometric identification into their Internet program. "We're on the leading edge," said Frank C. Stipes, president, chairman, and chief executive officer of the Mayaguez-based bank.

"We want to be a full-fledged bank on the Internet by offering inquiries, transfers, mini-loans, and industrial and commercial loans."

Westernbank has been working with Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv since 1992.

Though Fiserv has been testing several home banking programs with other banks over the past year, "Westernbank is the primary beta site for our particular business unit," said John O'Malley, president of Fiserv CBS USA, which is based in Orlando.

Westernbank, which has $1.3 billion of assets, has been in business 39 years and is the only bank in Puerto Rico that has been profitable since its founding, Mr. Stipes said. Most of the bank's 33 branches are on the southwestern part of the island.

Westernbank has tried to differentiate itself by extending its business hours, which now run into the early evening on weekdays and into the afternoons on weekends.

It was the first bank in Puerto Rico with a World Wide Web site, and it hopes its new Internet banking initiative will give its customers expanded access to bank services.

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