First United, Oakland, Md., has begun offering Web-based cash management services to its commercial customers.Working with Banklink, a New York-based treasury management software company, the $811 million bank developed the product to stifle its competitors, many of which are still offering proprietary solutions.
"We planned to offer a software-based cash management solution to our customers. However, after some research we realized that most applications are headed to the Internet, and instead decided our first release would be a Web-based product," said Val Teagarden, business development officer of cash management at First United, which has 20 locations in Maryland and West Virginia.
Customers have low-cost, around-the-clock, global access to the solution, easing the headaches of payroll management and other functions, said Teagarden. "With no additional software to download, customers have more flexibility to see data and our institution incurs less costs by pushing the application to customers online."
Commercial customers are assigned a user name and password at account set-up. Armed with no more than a standard Web browser, customers log on to the bank's Web site (www.mybankfirstunited.com), click on the cash management icon and sign onto the system, where they may check balances, initiate ACH transactions and internal funds transfers, perform stop payments and send e-mails to First United. Transactions are protected by data encryption, using Banklink-supplied user authentication and network security.
The bank declined to provide the number of customers using the service, which was launched in March, or the cost of the application, which was built using Banklink's WebLink cash management software.
First United is not the only bank using the WebLink system. Ridgefield Bank, Ridgefield, Conn., is offering the WebLink application to those small business customers with more than one tax ID number, which can benefit from ACH access via the Internet, according to Diana Fyfe, senior vice president of operations at $450 million Ridgefield. "By partnering with Banklink and relying on their technical support and implementation, we can focus our resources in new and different directions."