Southeast Switch Inc., which operates Florida's dominant automated teller machine network, Honor, is consolidating its ATM driving operations into a single site.

The move is part of the Maltland, Fla.-based company's effort to achieve economies of scale in a processing business it founded last February with the purchase of Barnett Banks Inc.'s ATM processing unit.

"Our goal is to eventually compete with the big players in this business - the EDSs and the Deluxe Datas," said George S. King, vice president in Southeast Switch's ATM Technologies unit. "This is sort of a step in that direction."

The consolidation was made necessary by the Honor network's acquisition at the end of 1993 of a Wachovia Corp. unit that handled ATM driving and debit card processing for about 120 financial institutions.

By the end of this year, Southeast Switch expects to have moved all processing from the former Wachovia unit's site in Atlanta to the network's data center in Maltland.

When completed; the consolidation will bring the number of ATMs driven from the Maitland facility to 1,100. The majority of these ATMs are owned by Barnett Banks, but abut 150 other institutions will also be served through this facility.

Marketing Drive

The unit plans to continue to expand the ATM driving business through an aggressive marketing effort fheaded by the ATM Technologies unit. In addition to selling ATM driving services, the unit will also sell off-line processing for Visa Check and MasterDebit products.

Although ATM Technologies' processing operations will be consolidated in Maltland, the unifs marketing will remain based in Columbia, S.C Customer support will be handled through the Columbia office.

Mr. King pointed out, that the effort to expand the processing business is consistent with a trend in regional electronic banking.

"There are a lot of superregionals interested in increasing their participation in the processing side of things," he noted.

Processing Taken In-House

In the last two years, three of the nation's top 10 regional electronic banking networks have brought their processing inhouse. They are: Electronic Payment Services Inc., which operates the NYCE; and Magic Line York Switch Corp., which operates NYCE; and Magic Line Inc., the major ATM system in Michigan.

Southeast Switch has done its own processing for more than five years. In more recent years, it has bid to expand its range of services, and hence generate more revenue out of its data center.

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