Technology: Back to The Velvet-Roped Lines

A pioneer pulls the plug on its electronic home-banking service

When Chemical Bank introduced its home-banking system five years ago, the Manhattan institution touted the new service as a breakthrough in consumer finance. For $12 a month, customers equipped with personal computers and telephone modems could tap into the bank's electronic ledgers and handle many of their banking chores from the comfort of home. Chemical viewed it as both a high-tech lure to draw new customers and a strategic first step toward a checkless, cashless future.

Alas, the system, called Pronto, was too slow in catching on. The bank has advised an estimated 25,000 home-banking subscribers that their accounts will be...

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