US bank Wells Fargo has bought an ownership stake in Viewpointe Archive Services, a consortium-owned provider of cheque imaging software and archive services originally set up in 2000 by IBM, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In addition to buying a stake in the firm, Wells Fargo has signed a long-term agreement to use Viewpointe's national cheque image archive and will also participate in the vendor's image exchange service, ImageShare.
Webb Edwards, president, Wells Fargo Services, comments: "Our investment in Viewpointe reflects our belief that image sharing, rather than image movement among individual banks, is the most effective way to improve efficiency and service quality.
Viewpointe says the addition of Wells Fargo increases the number of cheque images stored in its national archive to over 25 billion annually. John Lettko, chairman and CEO of Viewpointe, says: "We can now provide even greater economies of scale for our customers and assist the industry in employing a more efficient, on-demand model for image processing."
Following the transaction, Wells Fargo will join Viewpointe's board, which includes US Bancorporation which acquired an equity stake in the company in May 2002, and SunTrust Bank which bought a share of the firm in March 2002, along with the original founding members.
Commenting on the move by Wells Fargo, Bank of America chief technology, service and fulfillment executive and Viewpointe board member Barbara Desoer says: "Banks benefit when we speed up the transition between paper processing and image processing - having more partners does that. Wells Fargo's ownership in Viewpointe helps all participating banks reduce cheque collection expense."