Broadway & Seymour Offers Imaging for Smaller Banks

One of the nation's largest suppliers of software for community banks has introduced a system to let them incorporate image technology into their check processing operations.

Broadway & Seymour, based in Charlotte, N.C., said it had completed development of a package that stores check images on a host computer system for subsequent sorting and printing in miniature on account statements.

Such technology has been available for some time to financial institutions and service bureaus with mainframe computers. But the Broadway & Seymour package is the first to make image-based check statements an option for banks that own smaller host computers, such as an AS/400 from International Business Machines Corp.

Lower Costs

Also, the Broadway & Seymour system, priced at $200,000 to $350,000 including software and hardware, is much more affordable than the multimillion-dollar mainframe-based systems being tested by IBM, Unisys Corp., Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, and others.

By enabling banks to send check images instead of actual checks with the monthly statement, the systems promise to reduce postage and labor costs.

"The fear two years ago was that the high cost of image technology would wind up driving many small banks to outsourcers for this service," said Jack F. Prim, vice president at Broadway & Seymour.

"It is only now that in-house solutions are becoming available to them."

Hardware Requirements

The Broadway & Seymour system uses two major hardware components.

The first is a check transport from Recognition Equipment Inc., Dallas. The transport, similar in construction to the reader-sorters at most banks, is equipped with a camera to capture the image of each check.

The second component is an optical disk jukebox, which receives the images - sent from the check transport via local area network - and stores them. The stored images can be manipulated on-line and retrieved for printing in customer statements.

Along with images of the checks, some banks may choose to store pictures of signature cards to help in certifying big checks fast.

Helping Customer Service Reps

Also, some institutions may employ a software feature that enables customer service representatives to send faxes of check images without leaving their workstations.

A number of companies - including NCR Corp., Dayton, Ohio, and Banctec Inc., Dallas - have been developing systems similar to Broadway & Seymour's. But the products have not come to market.

Broadway & Seymour officials said the company is negotiating with the first likely customers for the system. The officials declined to name the institutions.

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