M&I Data Services, a Milwaukee-based data processing and software provider, has landed the first customers for a service designed to let banks provide account access through the World Wide Web.
Three of the 600 banks that have data processing or software agreements with the Marshall & Ilsley Corp. subsidiary have signed up for the Internet service: affiliate Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Milwaukee; Salem (Mass.) Five Cents Savings Bank; and West Coast Bank of Sarasota, Fla. They plan to open transaction Web sites in the fall.
Dozens of other banking institutions have expressed interest in the service, said Alfred S. Dominick Jr., executive vice president of retail product delivery.
"There isn't a bank that we talk to today that doesn't talk to us about Internet banking or PC banking," he said.
West Coast Bank, with only $80 million in assets, is a newcomer to the Internet. Its first Web site will appear in June. Though the bank is smaller than many financial institutions offering Internet capabilities, its customers include many affluent retirees who own PCs and modems.
Jody Hudgins, president of the bank, said transaction capabilities are becoming a necessary part of banking Web sites. "If you go to the Web, once the newness wears off, you really want to be able to do some business," said Mr. Hudgins.
Salem Five, with $750 million in assets, was among the first banks to post a Web site. It views its site as a way to retain customers. "We've used it to intercept customers who might have gone to other banks," said Michael R. Fitzgerald, a senior vice president at the bank.
The arrangement with M&I, he said, "is going to bring us up to a new level."
Today, only a handful of banks let customers check balances, pay bills, and perform other tasks through their Web sites. Among those that do are Wells Fargo & Co. and Security First Network Bank.
M&I is the data processor for Security First, the so-called "Internet only" bank, which issued an initial public offering last week.
Five Paces Software Inc., which is owned by Security First, developed the software that M&I will be using, to offer its customers financial service capabilities on the Internet.
"What SFNB and Five Paces have done is a breakthrough," Mr. Dominick said.