New Unisys arm picks up Westpac's cheque outsourcing

Unisys Payment Services (UPSL) -- the recently formed Australian subsidiary of Unisys -- has won a seven-year outsourcing contract to provide one-day cheque processing services to Westpac, and specifically to use its latest imaging technology to scan and store cheque vouchers electronically. The deal is valued at $A140 million and is expected to save the bank 30 per cent of its current cheque-processing costs.

Greg Conway, chief operating officer for operations at Westpac, said the decision to give the business to Unisys had been influenced by the US parent company's international experience in cheque processing, which includes handling about 49 per cent of the cheque volume of the UK through a joint venture with two British banks.

It is understood about 500 Westpac employees will be affected by the contract, but it is not clear that all will be provided with employment in the wake of the deal. "Westpac will be seeking to ensure employment for as many people as possible within UPSL or other areas of the bank," a bank statement claimed.

UPSL was set up in February after Unisys bought a 50 per cent stake in Australian cheque processing company Austrapay from JP Morgan Chase & Co. "Austrapay is now positioned to offer significant economies of scale to the Australian cheque processing marketplace," a spokesman claimed. Austrapay provides same day cheque clearing and lock box services to some big names in Australian banking and finance, including St George Bank, Bank SA, Suncorp Metway, Bendigo Bank, and Adelaide Bank.

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More about ADELAIDE BANKAustrapayBendigo BankJP MorganSt George BankSuncorp GroupSuncorp MetwayUnisys AustraliaWestpacWestpac

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