The Independent Bankers' Bank of Illinois wants to bring the latest in technology to its small-bank clients through a new form of "checking" account.

The bankers' bank, based in Springfield, would be the first of 16 such institutions in the country to offer electronic banking services to its clients, although several others now provide personal transaction accounts.

The personal executive checking account would offer electronic banking access to anyone who works at its 300 community bank clients in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa, as well as their directors.

"We really wanted to emphasize different methods of the payment system other than checks," said Diane McCluskey, vice president of the bankers' bank. "And we hope that by providing this to individuals, they will get more comfortable with the technology."

The account is designed to give bankers access to their personal funds through home banking, telephone banking, debit cards, automated clearing houses, or "any mechanism we can use for payments that will not entail paper checks," Ms. McCluskey said.

The bank is working with Gold Leaf Technologies, Hahira, Ga., which is providing the software.

Many community banks are interested in electronic banking but lack the technology and expertise to offer it to their customers, said John Schneider, president and chief executive of the Independent Bankers' Bank.

The bankers' bank's service would allow them to try out the technology, and if they like it, the bankers' bank would help them implement a similar service for their own customers using Gold Leaf or another third-party provider, said Mr. Schneider, who is also chairman of the Bankers' Bank Council.

"I think this is more important as a learning experience for them than as a large source of business," said Helge S. Christensen, president of the Bankers' Bank, Madison, Wis. "But if this can get banks interested in electronic banking, who otherwise would not be, then it's an important move."

The Illinois Bankers' Bank, whose board has approved offering the service, hopes to have the account running by the beginning of 1996. The software is still being set up, and the marketing efforts have not yet begun.

Ms. McCluskey said she didn't know how many of the bank's customers - 85% are in Illinois - would use the new product, but those who are the most technologically advanced have already expressed interest.

"I'm sure there are some out there anxious to get a taste of this new technology and see if it's something they can use for themselves," she said.

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