By Tim Leeds
Havre banks are all getting into the information age.
Norwest Bank and US Bank already provide their customers banking services over the Internet, and Havre's other banks aren't far behind.
Adrian Doucette, vice president and branch manager of Heritage Bank, said he has already ready seen a prototype of his bank's e-commerce system. He said the target date for implementation is June 1.
Byron Ophus, sr. vice president of First Security Bank of Havre, and Lynda Taplin, vice president and branch manager of Western Security Bank, said their banks will also soon have on-line banking, although no definite dates are in place yet.
Shaud Schwarzbach of US Bank said his bank wants an account that will fit everybody. He said the online banking seems to attract younger customers.
"It's for anybody that wants to jump on it," he said, "but it's aimed at the younger generation."
Doucette said it will be an avenue for people who want it.
"You get the ATM card generation," he said. "They aren't nearly as reluctant to push a button on a computer."
Doucette said the top priority in any electronic system is security.
"You want to make sure any transaction is secure," he said. That's probably part of the reason to wait this long."
Ophus said there are still some questions to answer which might slow the process down, but they are definitely moving towards computerization. He said the availability of the technology and the demand of the public is causing the transformation.
Taplin said her bank is moving in that direction as well. She said they already have a website, and are looking at online banking in the near future.
Alan Pearson, branch president for Norwest Bank, said his bank is providing a good selection of services for Havre and the area. He said he sees the need in the financial service industry for a variety of ways to serve their customers. He said some customers still want to do their banking sitting across the table from a financial service representative, but others want to work over the Internet and have 24 hour access.
Pearson said Norwest has had online banking for business accounts for a couple of years now, and for their retail customers for about a year. He said there are a couple of hundred accounts in Havre already, and close to 2,500 accounts in all nine of their locations on the Hi-Line.