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Local Banking from Kuwait

Besides battle, soldiers face other distractions. Imagine being thousands of miles away and worried if the mortgage or insurance is paid, or needing cash for new socks, but your bank's nowhere in sight. But now technology helps families bank together, even during war.

Audrey Smith will say goodbye to her soldier husband Friday when he deploys to Kuwait. She says keeping finances now is not as bad as it used to be.

"He'd write me the check numbers and the amounts so I was always off," she recalled. "I'd usually find it in the statement, what he'd spent, before I got the letter from him stating it."

Not any more. Heritage Bank, Hinesville and Fort Stewart's biggest, offers customers a website and an 800 number where soldiers can check their accounts.

"They can inquire on pretty much anything from the balance on their account to the last deposit and the amount of the deposit and the last check that was paid," Heritage Bank VP Brian Smith told us.

Using IDs and passwords, they can even pay their bills. With international cash machines in Kuwait, it's just like being in Hinesville.

"That would give me peace of mind," said Sgt. Jude Green of the 369th Armor Company. "If there is an ATM over there, thank God! It would be a little easier over there."

"I know immediately and he knows, so we work together through PC banking from both ends," said Audrey Smith.

She says being able to share that part of life makes life apart a little easier. Brian Smith says Heritage Bank is averaging 75 to 100 calls a day on their 800 number. The debit cards can be used either for purchases or getting cash.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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