Wells Fargo & Co. has signed a license to use HNC Software Inc.'s lending-decision management system, called Colleague.

The bank, with $50.3 billion in assets, plans to use the software to automate the decision process associated with home-equity loans and lines of credit.

The software automates underwriting functions and helps bank employees manage application processing.

"We have for some time enjoyed a close strategic relationship with HNC," said Julian Roca, senior vice president at Wells.

"We expect that this agreement will further strengthen that relationship."

The length of the contract and its financial terms were not disclosed.

Wells Fargo uses several HNC software products, including Falcon, which is a credit card fraud-detection system, and Areas, a statistical property- valuation system.

HNC's products are based on neural-network technology, a form of artificial intelligence that helps banks recognize patterns in transaction activity. HNC is based in San Diego.

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