At a time when banks are banding together to back next-generation technologies like Internet payments and electronic billing, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, and International Business Machines Corp. are setting their sights on reviving check imaging, a relative old-timer on the bank technology scene.

The banks announced Wednesday that they had signed an agreement with IBM to form a company that will create digital images of checks that could be shared online among banks then sent to consumers. This service, the companies said, will put the industry in position to reduce check processing costs by as much as 30%.

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