Chase is taking a leading role in the evolution of paper checks to electronic transactions, one that will not only help its bottom line, but will have positive ripple effects throughout the banking industry. "Electronic checking will save the industry $2 billion to $3 billion a year," says Tom Vicknair, Chase's svp in charge of enterprise check reengineering.

The bank has been working closely with ECCHO, the industry's not- for-profit rules and standards organization, which in recent years has been focusing on the implementation of electronic check transactions. Chase is second only to Bank of America in U.S. check processing, moving up to 16 million items each day. And it is one of the first banks with a global commitment to a total reengineering of its check processing platform from archive to image statements. Working with IBM, the bank has built a merged platform, the nation's second largest, from two different check processing systems within one year of its merger with Chemical Bank and with little disruption to Chase's 25 million customers.

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