January 11, 2005

Wells Fargo & Co. said Monday that it has taken a stake in Viewpointe Archive Services LLC, a bank-owned venture that stores and exchanges images of many of the 40 billion checks written annually in the United States.

The investment "reflects our belief that image sharing, rather than image movement among individual banks, is the most effective way to improve efficiency and service quality," Webb Edwards, president of Wells Fargo Services, said in a statement. Wells Fargo did not disclose the size of the stake it bought or how much it paid.

Viewpointe Archive Services LLC is gearing up to let banks exchange images of checks instead of paper, for which they've been given legal authority under the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, known as Check 21. Founded four years ago by Bank of America, JPMMorgan Chase, SunTrust Bank, and U.S. Bancorp, Viewpointe is adding more than 60 million checks to its archive each day.

This article originally appeared in InformationWeek, Jan. 10, 2005.