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Tools for researching prospective customers, managing compliance and protecting customer passwords take the spotlight in this month's Tool Shop. *

INDUSTRY PROFILES & TRENDS

First Research

Community bankers need expertise in a variety of industries and niches to communicate with and understand their small business customers. First Research is looking to offer community banks subscription access to more than 175 industry profiles, plus state economic trends. The profiles cover industries ranging from construction and real estate to automobile repair shops and pulp and paper mills.

Each 10- to 15-page report provides industry snapshots and trends for lenders to quickly access and brief themselves before meeting with a prospective client. Reports are updated quarterly.

Visit www.firstresearch.com for company information online.

POLICY ORGANIZATION

Compliance Cockpit

The number of policies and procedures community bank employees need to read and sign off on has sprouted alongside regulations. The e-know Compliance Cockpit is a Web-based program that allows a compliance officer to decide which employees need to read and sign off on a policy. It also sends e-mails asking employees to click on a link to the policy and tracks in real-time whether the e-mail has been read and signed off on, leaving an audit trail.

Find out more at www.eknow.com.

TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

Axalto's Protiva

New Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council regulations demand tighter authentication requirements for Internet banking applications by the end of 2006. Axalto's Protiva is one family of two-factor authentication solutions that recently hit the market. Protiva uses a combination of smart card technologies customers can plug into their computers' USB ports.

The cards encrypt a different eight-digit number each time a user connects to an online banking application, and a server on the other end performs the same cryptographic computation to verify the password. …

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