Northern Trust Co. is outsourcing its check-processing operations, including check imaging, to Fiserv Inc..

The bank processes 1.5 million checks daily for corporate and personal clients, and converts about one-quarter to images for clients who request it.

Though Northern Trust has outsourced a minor piece of its check- processing operation for several years, this is its first outsourcing agreement of this size.

The pact was announced Wednesday. The companies declined to disclose the deal's value.

Northern Trust's approximately 300 check-processing operations employees will move to similar positions within Fiserv on Jan. 1. Northern Trust employees will continue to maintain the relationships with clients.

"Our agreement with Fiserv will have only a modest effect on our cost structure for item processing in the near term, although we do expect to achieve some savings," said James Mitchell, executive vice president of worldwide operations. "Longer term, this partnership reinforces the bank's commitment to increasing the cost efficiencies needed for maintaining Northern's leadership position in treasury management."

Fiserv is the largest provider of check outsourcing, with 7% of the market over all and 19% of the market for institutions with more than $1 billion of assets.

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