Signet Banking Co . CoreStates Financial Corp. have each struck million-dollar check processing agreements with NCR Corp.

Signet, based in Richmond, sold a check processing business consisting of 35 clients to NCR for $1.7 million.

A CoreStates' unit, CashFlex, based in Langhorne, Pa., contracted Monday to buy a $1.5 million check processing system equipped with imaging capabilities for use in its remittance processing services business. Remittance processing is a cash management service that involves the handling of payments made to companies.

Double Threat

The deals, while unrelated, are noteworthy steps for NCR, an American Telephone and Telegraph Co. subsidiary based in Dayton, Ohio.

It is one of a handful of vendors, including International Business Machines Corp. and Unisys Corp., that both manufacture check processing equipment and provide related services to banks.

The Signet deal is significant, NCR officials said, because it represents the first time that a nonbank data processor and a financial institution will jointly market each other's services.

Virginia, Maryland Targeted

According to the Signet/NCR agreement slated to be announced today, Signet will help NCR promote and sell item processing and data processing services to financial institutions in Virginia and Maryland. NCR's sales force will in turn market Signet's other correspondent processing services.

The item processing business picked up by NCR will be moved to one of the company's check processing centers in Columbia, Md. NCR currently has six facilities dedicated to check processing in the United States.

Big Role as Correspondent

The 35 former Signet customers currently generate about 355,000 checks per month.

"Signet's strength lies in its array of correspondent services, which include all types of cash management products," said Ed Nolley, senior vice president. "NCR brings industry leadership in item processing, and combining these strengths enables us to provide comprehensive services to our customers."

While the 35 bank clients are moving to NCR, Signet will continue to run its own check processing operation in-house, using Unisys systems.

Meanwhile, CashFlex believes the installation of new image-capable check processing equipment will deliver a wide range of benefits to its remittance processing customers. These benefits include faster deposit of funds and quicker responses to customer inquiries.

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