Imaging systems, for years seen by bankers as an emerging technology with an unfulfilled promise, are finally being exploited in almost every area inside financial institutions to improve performance and productivity.

So says Rick Sellers, president of Huntington Service Co. and keynote speaker at the fifth annual Image Technology in Banking Conference, which opens tonight in Orlando.

The Bank Administration Institute conference, which is expected to draw close to 1,000 attendees, will feature bankers' and vendors' presentations and demonstrations on a full range of imaging products, services, and benefits.

"I think image in general is coming of age," said Mr. Sellers. "It is definitely seen as a productivity enhancer, a tool to implement reengineering projects, an enabler for check processing, mortgage originations, consumer lending."

The conference offers practical in-depth workshops, ideas for long-term strategic planning, and case histories of some of the industry's most prominent image technology users.

For example, Paul M. Connolly, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, is scheduled to speak on the interbank use of check images tomorrow morning.

First Tennessee Bank's Patrick D. Collins is slated to give a presentation on fee income potential for image statements, exception items, and other image-based products and services.

The application of imaging in the mortgage bank is also on the agenda, with a presentation by Charles R. Elgin, chief technology officer of Chemical Mortgage Co.

Many other breakout sessions -- covering subjects from cash management to consumer lending, from credit cards to stock transfer --will be held tomorrow and Friday.

In an adjacent exhibit hall the industry's leading image vendors will explain and demonstrate their latest imaging products.

The three leading imaging vendors -- International Business Machines Corp., Unisys Corp., and AT&T Global Information Solutions -- will each feature large display areas to show off the wide variety of check processing, file folder, and document storage and retrieval systems currently available.

Recognition International Inc., another major vendor of image document processing systems, will be showcasing check-processing systems and image applications for credit card and loan processing.

Automated Financial Systems Inc. and Littlewood, Shain & Co. will demonstrate CheckTrack Plus, a system the vendor says will be of special interest to banks that operate in a multistate processing environment because the system integrates data from multiple sources onto a single system for tracking.

Cincinnati Bell Information Systems Inc. will be showing its CD-ROM image distribution systems, and will be previewing its developments in image-enabled research and adjustments systems.

Earnings Performance Group Inc. will highlight its automated records retrieval system.

Banctec Inc. will demonstrate various image applications for rejects, statements, and remittance.

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