Teaming with local community banks, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has made the area a leader in the transition to a more computerized way of processing checks.

"The solutions that banks in the upper peninsula have found provide an example for other banks," said Steve Ledford, a senior vice president with the Atlanta-based consulting firm Global Concepts. Modernizing check processing is important not only because it is one of banks' biggest expense lines. It is one of the last traditional bank businesses that banks still dominate.

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