To the Editor:
I was surprised to read in your April 13 article ("Banks Seen as Service Portals, Not Providers," page 12) that the Payments '99 conference speech of Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy was considered "radically futuristic."
While big-bank executives are listening to high-profile speakers at industry conferences, community bankers are quietly carrying out what these "visionaries" claim is the future of banking.
Many of our 900 community financial institution customers currently offer Internet banking sites that serve as portals, with the very features that Mr. McNealy challenged banks to provide, such as e-mail, local and national news, community information, search engines, and links to hundreds of useful sites.
It is unfortunate that many executives from large banks have to learn lessons by paying hundreds of dollars to attend conferences hundreds of miles away. Perhaps it's time they took a stroll to the nearest community bank.
Vice president of marketing,
SBS, Birmingham, Ala.
(Editor's note: SBS is a provider of Internet technology and other automation products to community financial institutions.)