The conventional wisdom has been that Check 21 would bring a certain degree of excitement to the otherwise tedious lockbox marketplace. Admittedly, that's not a particularly high hurdle to clear. But even before many Check 21 products have made it out of beta testing, enterprising bankers seem ready to stir things up on their own–and with data that has been sitting around just waiting to be made useful.

The data, of course, is from the lockbox itself–since besides being the repository of check-based remittances for client companies, it is also a collection point for vital information on trends in their accounts receivables. What bankers are proposing to do is leverage their databases and provide management reports with advice on how to collect sooner, manage customers better and ultimately improve cash flow.

Take, for instance, JPMorgan Chase, which now–thanks to its acquisition of Bank One–has a much-enhanced presence in lockbox. JPMorgan was expected to introduce a browser offering in late April that will take A/R data and spin it back to the client in report form. "We'll also use the data to compare a client's performance with industry norms–for example, point out that the client's DSO is two days better or worse than the industry average," says Dave D'Silva, senior vice president and receivables business executive for JPMorgan Chase Treasury Services. For the next generation of the browser expected out in the fourth quarter of this year, D'Silva says the bank plans to respond to treasurers' requests with invoice matching and event-driven notification as well. "Treasurers are asking us to match incoming payments and remittance advices to invoices and then send them the results," D'Silva says. It will also allow treasurers to see all their collections, including wires and ACHs, consolidated on the browser platform. "It's really turning the traditional lockbox into a receivables-management engine," D'Silva says.

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