Seeking to streamline the check verification process, Optikalmaging Systems has introduced software that displays customers signatures on personal computers.

With Optika's Sigfiler Signature Image Management System, banks can capture, store, retrieve, or print out a signature image. Sigfiler can also link signatures to account and other file information, enabling bank clerks to cross-reference and check accounts ore efficiently.

Sigfiler is part of a family of Microsoft Windows-based image products developed by Optika, a Simi, Calif., software developer.

The Sigfiler product is being used by PaineWebber Inc.'s retail sales and marketing group in Weehawken, N.J., to verify checking and credit card signatures.

Signature images are captured at PaineWebber's offices and can be cross-referenced to all the clients' existing PaineWebber accounts.

When a large-dollar check comes through the system, the check's signature is then transmitted for verification to Banc One in Columbus, Ohio, PaineWebber's third-party check and credit card processor.

The system also can be programmed to "stage" items according to preset parameters. Staging provides the ability to predict the sequence of items to be verified. A clerk can select an "accept" or "reject" key to display the next corresponding signature image.

Aid to Customer Service

In addition to spotting fraudulent checks. at institutions where the system is installed at the teller level, customer service is enhanced. Optika officials said. "A teller can verify a larger [value] check in seconds. The customer doesn't have to wait and wonder what's going on," explained Greg Cooke, major account manager for Optika.

According to PaineWebber divisional vice president Michael Hennessy, Sigfiler has helped the retail sales and marketing group cut down on labor costs while improving efficiency. "We needed to raise our standards in the check verification area," Mr. Hennessy said.

Steps Are Eliminated

"Our clerks no longer have to get a hard copy of a check, and go look for a signature card. We've gotten rid of all our paper files."

Although Mr. Hennessy declined to site a specific dollar figure, he did say that Sigfiler has helped PaineWebber cut down on check fraud.

Sigfiler is designed to work over a network of personal computers. The software can store signatures on optical or magnetic disks. Its starting price is about $15,000.

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