Flat-panel displays, a high-technology advance in computer screens, are finding their way into banking.

Gwendolyn Bays, distribution manager at Sceptre Technologies Inc., said its radiation-, static-, and flicker-free displays have appeal as a space- saving measure, particularly in bank offices and call centers where space is at a premium.

"There is increasing interest this year," she said.

Sceptre, based in City of Industry, Calif., reported an increase in sales of at least 50% last year from the financial institution sector.

"We have a unique and necessary solution for the financial environment," she said. "They have a need, we have a solution."

Sceptre's largest bank installation was a shipment of more than 300 units in January to Sumitomo Bank of California for use at teller stations.

Hawthorne Financial Corp. in El Segundo installed the screens at teller stations in six branches.

The New York Stock Exchange also uses this technology, which in effect replaces cathode ray tube displays with LCD, or liquid crystal display, thin film transistor technology. It can be plugged in to a personal computer that is positioned under a counter, which would open counter space.

The LCD technology takes up about 10% of the space occupied by a conventional cathode ray tube, or CRT, display.

"It is a monitor that can fit in a briefcase, at a desk, or mounted on a wall," said Ms. Bays.

"Because they don't radiate heat, they can save the average corporation 30% to 70% in energy costs," Ms. Bays said.

But the up-front cost of LCD is about twice that of CRT. Sceptre's 12.1- inch display, which is less than 2 inches thick, sells for $999, and its 15-inch display, two inches thick, costs $1,999.

"When customers see the utility of the product, price isn't an issue," said Keith Hunt, marketing manager at Sceptre. He predicted the trend to LCD is only starting and "more banks will migrate to flat-panel and away from larger monitors."

Sceptre's flat-panel displays are made in Taiwan, where the company has two factories.

In marketing to the financial industry, Sceptre is competing against NEC of Japan. "We have the best price point because of mass production and availability," Ms. Bays asserted.

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