The National Automated Clearing House Association has received 14 responses from vendors to its request to propose financial electronic data interchange software.

The Herndon, Va.-based association issued its request in April.

Nacha declined to disclose the names of the responding vendors.

"At this point, we're not providing names yet," said Scott Lang, director of wholesale applications with' the clearing house group. "Review committees have been selected, and we are shipping copies of each response to them."

Mr. Lang said one vendor will be chosen in September.

The request for proposals reflect an attempt by the association to jump start the banking industry's capabilities in offering corporate customers financial EDI remittance information through the automated clearing house networks, said Mr. Lang.

It is the clearing house association's belief that financial EDI software is too costly for banks to buy, especially banks with few corporate customers with needs of such services.

Software Crucial

The clearing house group cannot require all banks to be capable of offering financial EDI until there is cost-effective software on the market, said William B. Nelson, executive vice president.

The National Automated Clearing House Association is the banking trade association responsible for maintaining the rules for the ACH payments network, which over 14,000 financial institutions and 300,000 companies and businesses use.

Financial EDI is the electronic movement of payments and related information throughout the banking system in standard formats through ACH networks.

"As more RDFIs (receiving depository financial institutions) become financial EDI capable, consideration could be given to a Nacha rule to mandate the reporting of remittance data to corporate customers," said Mr. Nelson.

Data Wanted

Hc believes there is a rising demand among businesses that their banks provide financial EDI remittance data information along with their electronic payments.

But banks may be waiting for enough transaction volume before EDI capability becomes cost-effective. Currently "only 730 banks are EDI receive capable," said Mr. Lang.

Maggie Scarborough, who is senior director of the association's Network Products Group, said that financial EDI is not yet cost-effective, because of the reluctance of large originators such as the federal government "to increase origination volumes without assurances that RFDIs will pass on the remittance information."

The financial EDI software that Nacha is looking for will allow banks to produce humanreadable statements, machinereadable disc outputs that can be sent to customers, and communication links to back office systems.

There are four ACH formats for financial EDI, including Cash Concentration or Disbursement (CCD), which is a dollar amount only and is not sent with payment related information.

An additional format is Cash Concentration or Disbursement Plus Addenda, or CCD Plus, which has an "addenda record" along with the payment.

Then there is the Corporate Trade Exchange format, known as CTX, which transmits one payment and as many as 9,999 addendum records. This format allows a company to send one payment that electronically covers multiple invoices.

Another format, Corporate Trade Payment, is planned to be phased out in April 1996, and replaced by the CTX format.

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