NationsBank Corp. has added image technology to its wholesale lockbox operations.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company spent about a year developing a system that will deliver electronic images of checks, invoices, and other remittance records to corporate customers via CD-ROM, tape, or on-line formats.

The $184 billion-asset bank is now part of a small group of banks offering image-based lockbox services. Image technology, when deployed well, reduces the costs associated with processing paper checks.

NationsBank, which claims to be the largest provider of wholesale lockbox services, hopes to use image-based services as a differentiator in the highly competitive yet lucrative fee-based cash management service.

"This new technology enables our customers to get out of the paper business," said Martha Morrison, senior vice president and collections product-line manager at NationsBank.

"With image, customers are able to see the activity in their lockbox much quicker than they can today."

Banks have been adopting check image technology, which creates digitized pictures from paper documents, at a measured pace.

Cash management areas, which have lower volumes of checks than standard check processing operations, are increasingly used as proving grounds for check image systems.

NationsBank is piloting the service with two undisclosed companies. It will store images of checks and related documents for up to 60 days.

The bank will scan and digitize the items and send them through the normal collection process. Customers will receive check images and associated data in formatted data files. Customers can then upload the information to their accounts receivable systems for reconciliation.

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