Unisys captures £250m bank outsourcing deal

Unisys has joined the IBM and EDS in signing up a major outsourcing deal with a financial services company ahead of the Christmas...

Unisys has joined the IBM and EDS in signing up a major outsourcing deal with a financial services company ahead of the Christmas holidays.

The Unisys deal, worth $400m (£250m) over seven years, will see the outsourcer host and manage a new cheque management system for US bank Washington Mutual.

Washington Mutual said the deal would give it one of the first completely image-based capabilities for storing cheque information for customers that will be readily viewable in its branch offices around the nation.

Unisys will replace an existing contractor that has been receiving the paper cheques in daily shipments from Washington Mutual and processing them to create digital files that are then sent back to the bank.

The method will replace the paper trail, allowing bank tellers to process the cheques in their branches, reducing the time it takes to send the cheque information for processing and saving money for the bank.

Ed Robinson, vice president of global outsourcing program management at Unisys, said eight regional centres would be built over two years to process the cheque images. The first centre will open next September. Image capture machines will be installed in each financial centre's back office.

"A lot of banks would have liked to go there in the past, but it's been pretty cost-prohibitive," Robinson said.

"Once the system is fully implemented, Washington Mutual will be able to provide image-based products and services such as access to cheque images for customers via the Web and CDs for corporate cash management customers," said Armando Angelbello, vice president of banking and financial services at Washington Mutual.

The Unisys deal follows Deutsche Bank's 10-year £1.61bn IT outsourcing deal with IBM which will utilise on-demand computing to save the bank an estimated £64m a year.

Last week EDS signed a 10-year, £2.85bn deal to provide managed network and IT services with Bank of America, the third-largest bank in the US.

EDS also hoped to sign a £1bn IT outsourcing deal with ABN Amro, Holland's largest bank, by the end of the year.

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