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First Tennessee Strives for Fast Clearing

Financial Fusion and Viewpointe help Memphis bank supplement FedEx service.

First Tennessee Bank (Memphis, $25 billion in assets) has a history of thriving through innovative partnerships. For example, the bank offers a check clearing service that draws upon the logistical expertise and physical proximity of its hometown neighbor FedEx.

The FedEx partnership allows the bank to extend the cut-off window for processing, thus allowing its commercial customers to clear checks as quickly as possible. The service has been quite popular among major brokerage firms, which typically traffic in relatively small volumes of high-dollar checks. "It's worth it for them to pay the transportation costs in the FedEx envelope today, to get it over to First Tennessee and clear them overnight for the float advantage they get," says Taylor Vaughn, senior vice president of cash management services, First Tennessee Bank.

With the recognition that Check 21 could create new competitors, First Tennessee intends to lead the way for its replacement: client-site image capture. So when October rolls around, the bank will be ready to receive images instead of paper checks. "They just scan the checks, transmit them to the bank, and we deposit them into their account - taking advantage of the Check 21 legislation," says Vaughn.

Behind the scenes, First Tennessee will rely upon Financial Fusion (Concord, Mass.) to provide corporate customers with information and cash management access. "We already had a great relationship with [Financial Fusion] for our small-business customers and our retail customers," says Vaughn. "By just building off the existing platform to do our treasury management services, it made a lot of sense from not having to build new firewalls, new security procedures, new audit procedures and new back-office connections," he adds.

The bank uses Viewpointe Archive Services (Charlotte, N.C.) for image archive and exchange.

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