HERMITAGEWith Web site, bank hopes to open ëportalí to community
By Erin Remai
Herald Staff Writer
Bank Web sites are not usually the place to find out whatís going on in the community, but First National Bank of Pennsylvania wants to change that.
First National is scheduled to launch its new Web site this month. Aside from the typical online banking and products and services information, the site will have a community page, local and national news, weather and links to other sites.
"We launched it not as a typical bank Web site that shows products and services. We donít just want to put our brochure on the Web site," said Linda J. Evans, senior vice president at First National.
Mrs. Evans said the site is a "portal concept," which means visitors to the site can collect a variety of information without ever leaving the site.
The site is similar to sites such as Yahoo.com and MSN.com because it provides news, sports and weather, and subscribers can make it their home page. The difference is other sites send a visitor to a different site, while First Nationalís site pulls in information to its site. The visitor can visit other Web sites through links without ever leaving First Nationalís site.
"Banks are very concerned about customer privacy," Mrs. Evans said. "Weíre shielding customers from other places when they stay on our Web site. We can control it ... weíre pulling information to us rather than pushing you to another site."
Anyone can use the site without subscribing to it, Mrs. Evans said.
First Nationalís Web site includes several tabs, including bank, money, community and shopping. The bank tab provides standard information about First National and its branches, including locations and hours. The bank tab also has press releases and job openings listed.
Linda R. Bires, retail services analyst at First National, said soon customers will be able to transfer funds from one account to another, make loan payments and pay bills online. Eventually customers will also be able to apply for loans online.
The community tab includes a calendar of events and snapshots from First Nationalís branches.
ìWe invite people in the community to e-mail us events,î Mrs. Evans said, adding that any e-mail is subject to approval by bank personnel.
The tab will have links to local schools, and may include high school sports scores, said Mrs. Bires.
Mrs. Evans said local merchants will be able to advertise on First Nationalís Web site, and First National would help the businesses build a Web site or a link to their Web site.
ìWe want to become the place in the community where people in the community go to find out whatís going on in the community,î Mrs. Evans said. ìWeíre a community bank. Itís something weíve always been interested in and proud of.î
The shopping tab has not been set up yet, but the concept is customers can shop online and debit money from their First National checking accounts. Mrs. Evans said the bank will also offer specials, such as a bonus rate on CDs or loans, for customers who shop on-line with First National.
No matter what tab a customer clicks on, the customer has the option to log into his or her First National account.
Mrs. Evans said First Nationalís branches will soon have Internet access, so customers who donít have Internet access can access their accounts online at their local bank.
ìIf thereís a long line at the branch, y! ou can go online while you wait,î Mrs. Bires said. Mrs. Evans said the bank will have to create a whole business plan for the portal and a in-house program to keep it up-to-date.
ìWeíre committed internally to doing it. Itís a good way for people to begin to see the community,î Mrs. Evans said. ìWeíve got a lot of work to do, but I think itís very doable.î
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