SunTrust Banks Inc. has enlisted International Business Machines Corp. to build an integrated check imaging system for the bank's corporate business.

Corporate customers of the Atlanta-based banking company will soon have dial-up access, via personal computer modem, to images of checks written against their accounts.

Such systems are an increasingly popular value-added service for banks with large cash management businesses.

SunTrust is currently testing the new image system. Bank officials said the general rollout will occur some time in the second quarter.

The new platform, IBM's High Performance Transaction System, will form the foundation from which corporate customers can receive on-line access to images of their paid checks and store checks on CD-ROM for account reconcilement.

SunTrust officials would not disclose the cost of installing the new IBM system or the number of corporate customers which could use the image-based services.

The system upgrade comes in response to demand from corporate customers who are reengineering and simplifying their treasury and accounting operations, according to Ward H. Gailey Jr., SunTrust's director of cash management services.

The bank has also recently extended imaging technology to other areas of its business, including signature files in its branches and installment loans in its lending units. Mr. Gailey said the bank will be rolling out image-based services to another major corporate segment within a month or so.

Many of SunTrust's corporate services are handled almost entirely on paper. But the bank has taken a gradual and piecemeal approach to technologically upgrading its systems because it does not want to use "image for the sake of image," Mr. Gailey said.

"We worked very closely with IBM to develop a more comprehensive system that takes this technology one step further by providing our clients direct access to information they need to make timely decisions through a very user-friendly format," Mr. Gailey said.

The new check imaging services, Mr. Gailey said, are based on a Windows operating system version of SunTrust's electronic banking window. Corporate customers can conduct a variety of business transactions through this window, from balance reporting to wire transfer initiation.

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