Viewpointe LLC anticipates a fast ramp-up for its latest image exchange offering, which lets small trading partners transmit encrypted images over public Internet lines.

“The pipeline is very robust,” Diane Scott, the president of Viewpointe’s emerging business unit, said Thursday. “We believe this product is well positioned to help financial institutions reach 'the last mile’ ” of clearing checks completely electronically.

Viewpointe, which operates a shared image archive, said Wednesday that it had signed up Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union of Tallahassee, the nation’s fifth-largest corporate credit union, to be the first Internet connectivity customer for its Pointe2Pointe service.

The New York company had announced the development of the Internet option in July, saying it planned to target institutions with annual image volumes of 75 million items or less.

This is the first time institutions have been allowed to use the public Internet, rather than a dedicated data line, to connect to Viewpointe’s repository.

Kay Moon, a senior vice president and the chief operating officer at Southeast Corporate, said it found Viewpointe’s offering to be the most competitive in the market.

“By connecting through the Viewpointe network, we are able to reach additional banks to perform check image exchange that are valuable to our existing customers,” Ms. Moon said in a Viewpointe press release.

Though the $4 billion-asset Southeast Corporate has members nationwide, the bulk of its 430 credit union members are in the South.

Eleven large banking companies, including Bank of America Corp., BB&T Corp., First Horizon National Corp., and SunTrust Banks Inc., use Viewpointe’s repository to store and clear check images. Viewpointe’s Web site lists eight others — including Compass Bancshares Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., Synovus Financial Corp. of Columbus, Ga., and BancorpSouth Inc. of Tupelo, Miss. — that store their images in-house but exchange them through Pointe2Pointe, which Viewpointe has offered since May 2005.

Viewpointe also has connections to image-clearing networks that serve smaller institutions, including Metavante Technologies Inc.’s Endpoint Exchange Network and the Fiserv Clearing Network.

Ms. Scott said Viewpointe had designed the Internet connection to be as simple and cost-efficient as possible. For institutions that already have image processing capabilities, the implementation process is quick, “usually within a month,” and there are no implementation fees — only tiered fees based on item volume.

“The institution only pays for what they use,” she said.

The Federal Reserve banks say check use has been declining at least since early this decade. Viewpointe — which is owned by five banking companies and International Business Machines Corp. — has been emphasizing its role as a way for the industry to achieve full electronic check clearing without the use of printed substitute checks.

Viewpointe also is broadening its portfolio of services. Last week it acquired PaymentsNation, a Dallas provider of check settlement services and automated clearing house association services, and reorganized itself to focus on emerging business opportunities in payments.