America's First Bank on the Internet, Security First Network Bank, goes on-line Oct. 18.
The historic first transaction across the public network will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at a news conference at the Palace Hotel in New York City.
Security First Chairman and CEO James S. "Chip" Mahan III, and President Michael Karlin will be available for comment. Representatives from super-regional holding company investors Wachovia, N.C. and Huntington Bancshares, Ohio, are also expected to attend.
Representatives from Five Paces Software. Inc., and SecureWare, Inc., will answer security and technical questions and demonstrate the product on a bank of computers logged on to the Internet.
The product launch was cleared for Wednesday after Security First received the report on a third-party study from Georgia Tech Research Institute. It said computer experts there were unable to penetrate the secure software the bank will use to protect customers' financial information and deposits.
Customers will be able to make deposits, pay bills and reconcile accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Mahan.
"Anyone with a computer and a modem is our potential customer," Mahan said, adding that home computers outsold television sets in 1994, providing millions of Americans with such equipment in their homes." Information about banking on-line with Security First can be obtained at the bank's Internet home page at http//www.sfnb.com.
Unlike any other attempt at Internet commerce, Security First provides unique multilayered secure software that in effect creates an individual "bank vault" for each customer's account. Additionally, deposits at Security First are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to applicable limits, just as they would be in a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.
Security First banking on the Internet isn't simply another personal finance software package for home computers, such as Intuit's Quicken(TM) or Microsoft's Money(TM). It is a direct link between the bank and its customers, a link that Mahan said is essential for the customers and the bank to maintain their one-on-one relationship.
To help banks maintain that relationship, Security First already has plans to add other financial services so on-line bank customers can see and manage all of their financial affairs, with just one interface on the Internet. Subject to regulatory approval, those will include credit cards, stock brokerage, insurance and corporate cash management capabilities.
"This is an important milestone for the emergence of the entire electronic financial marketplace," said Karlin.
Subject to regulatory and Cardinal stockholder approval, Security First will acquire Five Paces. The Acquisition will occur as part of a series of transactions whereby Cardinal will spin off Security First as an independent publicly held bank, and Security First will also recapitalize itself through a sale of stock to two of America's leading super-regional bank holding companies, Wachovia Corp., and Huntington Bancshares, as well as Area Bancshares Corp. Wachovia, Huntington and Area also have agreed to license the Virtual Bank Manager product and technology. The Huntington plans to have its Internet Bank up and running by end of the first quarter next year.
The software, which is available to banks exclusively through Five Paces, Inc., was created by SecureWare, Inc., one of the nation's premier secure software manufacturers, in cooperation with Hewlett-Packard. For more than eight years, SecureWare has provided the U.S. Defense Department with secure computer operating systems, such as the one that houses flight plans for the B-2 bomber.
Michael C. McChesney, chief executive officer of SecureWare, Inc., said "SecureWare has invested hundreds of man years developing the trusted operating system used in Virtual Bank Manager. It is the only system that has the Secure Web Platform for secure electronic banking."
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