ORLANDO -- A record number of attendees were greeted with a handful of announcements at the annual National Automated Clearing House Association conference here.

The conference, which ended Wednesday, marks the 20th anniversary of the National Automated Clearing House, an association of clearing house groups that markets the automated clearing house payment system and sets rules for its operation.

Nacha officials said that more than 1,100 people showed up for this year's conference, more than 100 more attendees than the previous record.

Among the announcements at the show, the New York Automated Clearing House said that CoreStates Financial Corp. of Philadelphia, the 22nd largest originator of automated clearing house transactions last year, has joined the regional association. In a press statement, Al Amorosi, CoreStates' operations officer, said the membership will let the bank gain "operating efficiencies" by being able to transmit automated clearing house transactions directly to the New York ACH, instead of using an intermediary.

A New York ACH official said that CoreStates will not initially participate in its net settlement system for calculating the net debit and net credit positions of bank participants because the Federal Reserve does not allow the New York ACH to provide net settlement outside of the Fed district, and is optimistic that the approval will be granted and that CoreStates will participate.

Association Changes Its Name

Another automated clearing house group announced a name change. The group, formerly known as the Calwestern Automated Clearing House Association, is now the Western Payments Alliance, which the group believes is a better name for an association with members from Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah, in addition to its home state of California. The association also said it is considering accepting the Bank of Guam as a member.

Servantis Systems Inc., of Norcross, Ga., a technology vendor formerly known as Stockholder Systems, announced plans to develop a new version of its dominant automated clearing house processing software.

The software, called Pep and Pep+, is used by nearly 90% of the 300 largest automated clearing house processors.

The new version, Pep++, will be for the 25 largest originators of automated clearing house payments, said Doug Williams, a senior vice president of Servantis. The version is scheduled for customer tests by the end of next year.

Company Sees Success of Software

Another technology vendor, Applied Communications Inc., of Omaha, Neb., reported what officials described as encouraging success in selling automated clearing house software that rivals Servantis' Pep line. The software, called CO-ach, has been purchased by five banking companies since Applied Communications began selling it a year ago. Four of the banks are based outside the United States. The U.S. customer is BankAmerica Corp., of San Francisco.

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