The number of credit unions offering Internet home banking has more than tripled in the last year.

Two hundred twenty-two credit unions were offering PC banking over the Internet on March 31, according to a study by the consulting firm of Callahan & Associates, Washington. Only 66 were doing so in March 1997.

"Credit unions, like all financial institutions, are realizing you can't ignore the Internet anymore," said Dan Schoenherr, senior vice president of Callahan. "It is here, and it is becoming more pervasive."

The study also found that 1,341 credit unions had Web sites, up 147% since March 1997.

Jim Bruene, editor of Online Banking Report, a Seattle newsletter, attributed the jump to the data processors that work with credit unions.

"Most credit unions outsource their processing, so they had to wait until the contractors had a home banking product to offer," he said. Almost all the large data processing vendors now offer a home banking product, he said.

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