Banks Weigh Software to Process Handwriting

Article excerpt

Banks are eyeing new software from Microsoft Corp. that enables a standard personal computer to recognize and process handwriting.

The software, a new version of Microsoft's Windows for Pen Computing, is being evaluated for customer-service applications at banks, said Lisa Weil, a product manager at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash.

Robert Schiewe, senior vice president at Continental Bank Corp., Chicago, said his bank is interested using the new software to make computers easier for employees to use. "Giving people the ability to write [on computers] would significantly increase the number of people that use computers," he said.

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Microsoft announced the new software last week at PCExpo, a trade conference in New York.

Continental is the only U.S. bank to date, and one of the first corporations in any industry, to disclose plans to use portable computers that accept handwriting. The bank plans to give the machines, called pen computers, to 300 to 400 traveling officers during the next year.

The pen computers will be equipped with a version of Microsoft's Windows for Pen Computing that works only on portable machines. The new software release will work on standard, stationary personal computers.

Mr. Schiewe said Continental would like to use the software to increase acceptance of computerization at the bank. …