Wachovia Corp. plans to begin tests this month of a PC-based image-capture system for processing payments in its wholesale lockbox business.

The banking company has bought hardware from Dayton, Ohio-based NCR Corp., a unit of AT&T Co., and software from Compusist Inc., Dryden, N.Y. Wachovia is based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Officials of the banking company said the system costs more than $1 million, but they declined to be more exact.

Checking System

Wachovia is already testing an image-capture system from NCR for high-speed check processing - a project that is slated to go live in mid-1993.

Other banking companies, like Northern Trust Corp., also are installing PC-based image systems for wholesale lockbox.

The Wachovia system is different, however, because it will use both a high-speed image-transport system, for capturing remittance and check data, and a low-speed image file folder system, for capturing images of envelopes or other types of documents.

"It's one of the first applications that combines high-speed and low-speed imaging," said Kathleen Dyer, director of imaging systems at NCR Corp.

Productivity Boost Foreseen

Installing imaging will help the bank cut costs in the competitive wholesale lockbox business, said Frank L. Zaubi, senior vice president and group executive at Wachovia.

Because the service often must be tailored to individual corporations' needs, it has been difficult to automate.

Wachovia employs 700 at three lockbox sites. The company expects significant productivity improvements but said it could not specify them now.

Most manual work will be eliminated. Character-recognition technology will be used to minimize manual key entry.

Wachovia plans to begin testing the system in its Atlanta lockbox office and expects to convert Atlanta to the system in the fourth quarter of 1993.

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