Betting that Internet-TV will be the ultimate application for attracting the masses to on-line banking, First Commerce Bank is forging its path with the creation of the first bank Web site designed specifically for Internet-TV viewers. Charles Blair, president of Georgia-based First Commerce Bank, says the bank realized during the 1996 holiday shopping season that Internet-TV devices could offer great potential for banks. "WebTV or Internet-TV is going to make it easier and more affordable for the non-technical person to have Internet access, and that's what's intriguing to us. Sometime in the future Internet-TV is going to be a major player," says Blair. The Internet-TV Web site is a redesigned sister-site to the bank's original on-line banking site. The system detects which type of browser the viewer is using and connects to either the Internet-TV or traditional site, preventing customers who alternately access the site with a computer or a television from having to remember different addresses. "The primary difference is the interface design," says Tripp Rackley, president and CEO of nFront, which created both sites. "You're used to viewing your computer from 18 to 24 inches and you're used to using your television much farther away. The other thing is colors show up much different on the television than they do on computers." And while users can see traditional Web sites with an InternetTV browser, nFront contends companies should be more viewer-friendly. "Just like everything else, you want to cater to the market at hand," Rackley says. A bank can expect to invest between 25 and 40 percent the amount spent to build the original site to add a sister-site designed for Internet-TV, he says. At least six banks have hired nFront in the last two months to create Internet sites after customers demanded them. "That's the big wake-up call more than anything else," Rackley says. First Commerce has no specific expectations for how quickly InternetTV will boost its estimated $2.5 million in Internet deposits. "You've got to consider Internet-TV because if you don't, somebody else is," Blair says. -sausner tfn.com.

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