File-Transfer Package Would Allow Use of PCs for Communications

A Georgia-based technology company has introduced a file transfer product that allows banks' cash machines to communicate with mainframe systems via a personal computer.

Goldleaf Technologies of Hahirah, Ga., developed the Goldlink data communications software in coordination with its parent company, Lowndes Commercial Banking Co., a $28 million-asset institution also in Hahirah.

The product gives community banks the capability of connecting to an ATM network without incurring the cost buying and maintaining expensive ATM software on their host systems.

Versatility Noted

According to Judd Brinson, a technical-support executive, Goldlink also offers savings to community banks considering upgrades or changes.

"Goldlink can receive and transmit files from any kind of system," he explained. "If a bank undergoes a conversion or upgrades their technology, they don't have to buy a new version of Goldlink or a different product from another vendor."

At about $2,300 plus an annual licensing fee, Goldlink costs much less than host links, which can run to $20,000, Mr Brinson said.

For some banks, Goldlink provides the functionality that was previously sought through proprietary development efforts.

When Citizens Bank, an institution in Leesburg, Fla., with $368 million in assets, decided to link into Mellon Bank Corp.'s ATM network service, it went to Mellon for assistance.

"The programmer couldn't write what we needed for our host," said Bobby C. Sullivan, a Citizens compliance officer. "A PC-based solution seemed a lot simpler. Since we were working with Goldleaf in the return-items area, we decided to see what they could do for our ATM network."

With a modem connected to a PC, Goldlink enables a bank to run two-way communications with an outside mainframe. Goldlink receives files from its own host, reformats them into the ATM provider's balance file format, and then sends them to the service provider.

When ACH files come into the bank, the system reverses the process.

For community banks that are used to generating a lot of paper, the software has significantly streamlined processing. Metrobank, a $66 million-asset bank in Farmington Hills, Mich., installed Goldlink in August so that the bank could connect to its regional shared ATM network.

According to Michele McMinn, vice president and cashier at Metrobank, the Goldlink software eliminates the need for clerks to manually input daily ATM withdrawals and deposits records.

"In the past, we'd get a list at the end of the day and they'd enter it in on line," Mr. McMinn said, "What took three hours a month ago, takes five minutes today."

Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.

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