Banctec Inc. recently sold $7 million worth of its operations hardware to three major clients, including Citibank.

The New York City-based bank, alongn with Ameritech Network Services and Arizona Public Service Co., will install the vendor's ImageFirst financial document processing systems at their payment processing operations centers. Citibank will use the new system to replace first-generation Banctec imaging hardware that has been in place for 11 years at its Sioux Falls, S.D., processing site.

Third-Generation Hardware

"An important part of our business is assisting our flagship customers with expansion and enabling them to improve efficiency via technology upgrades," Grahame N. Clark, Banctec's chairman and chief executive, said in a prepared release.

The latest ImageFirst product is the Dallas-based vendor's third generation in its line of processing hardware. Since 1983, Citibank used the vendor's Impac hardware to process more than 900 credit card transactions.

Citibank was one of the system's earliest users. Bank officials refused to comment about their latest upgrade, saying it was "too premature."

Unlike earlier versions, the newest system is based on an open systems architecture platform and recognizes characters better.

Ameritech, a telecommuncations company, will install ImageFirst systems to process telephone payments at sites in Columbus, Ohio, and Saginaw, Mich., for its Ohio Bell and Michigan Bell units.

Arizona Public Service Co. will use its system to process monthly utility payments at a center in Phoenix, Ariz.

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