future last week, and some of them may not have liked what they saw. Electronic loan machines, full-service automated teller machines hooked up to the Internet, and high-end voice response systems were just a sampling of the latest in banking technology showcased at FutureBank '95, a massive convention held in Atlanta. The community bankers present seemed mostly impressed, but also a bit concerned. Some feared that personal service - the community bank credo - could be in grave danger. "It's a question of maintaining high service and determining where it should be done in a high-touch manner" said Larry D. Flowers, executive vice president of First Liberty Bank in Macon, Ga. "We're still figuring that out." Finding the right balance was a theme running throughout the two-day event. If Richard F. Scali and Armando Barreiro Jr. get their way, no touch could become the norm. The two Miami-based executives had on display a six- foot-high teal green terminal that looked like something out of the old television show "Lost in Space." The unit would provide users with access to, among other things, their own banks, electronic mail service and retail stores - all by way of the Internet. The company, called Activenet Corp., hopes to deploy 1,000 of the terminals by next year in airports, malls, and everywhere else ATMs are located . Banks would install these as well. Not all employees would have to be laid off, Mr. Scali said; some would be needed to show customers they need not fear the device.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.