Harris Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago is installing a system from Microbank Software Inc. designed to improve the research and adjustment functions in check processing.

The system is called Tracs, an acronym for transaction, research, adjustment correspondent system. Built around personal computers to tied together in local area networks, the technology is installed in more than 90 financial institutions around the world.

When used for adjustments in check processing, Tracs eliminates the need for note cards, files, microfiche, and calculator tapes. It will enable Harris personnel to manage all the tracking and controlling of a question or dispute, as well as its resolution, in an on-line mode.

Data Storage Support

Harris, an affiliate of the Bank of Montreal with $14 billion in assets had been using a version of Tracs in its foreign exchange department. It became the first to use the system in check research and adjustments.

In addition to Tracs system, Harris is installing another product of New York-based Microbank called Stors, a data storage system for all types of transactions.

To support the Microbank technology, Harris also purchased a set of check image retrieval modules from Antinori Software Inc. Using optical disk technology, these modules automatically schedule check retrieval workloads and can instruct the hardware to print a check image or fax an image to a branch, to an adjustments clerk, or even directly to a bank customer.

According to Beth Server, a vice president at Harris Trust, the decision to install Tracs in check processing is part of a bankwide effort to improve processes and procedures.

"We've been focusing on cost reduction efforts through process improvement," Ms. Server said. "A year and half ago we looked at ways to reengineer adjustments handling. Tracs gives us the means to integrate client server technology into host applications."

Bill Andrews, assistant vice president, said the decision to use software that runs on networked workstations will allow Harris to take advantage of future processing enhancements. He also indicated that when using imaging capability, it is more cost-effective to connect additional workstations to the network is than adding central computer power.

Rapid Return Expected

Mr. Andrews said he expects the Microbank system will pay for itself in less than 18 months through the elimination of microfiche and mainframe storage costs as well as through a reduction in labor costs. Improvements are also expected through better work flows and customer service.

Harris' system is expected to be operational by the end of the year. At first, Tracs will be used primarily by back-office personnel and the possibility of installing it for use in Harris branches is being explored.

Mr. Andrews said that the bank is also considering applications in the automated clearing house and wire transfer areas.

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