NEW YORK (9/23/09)--Many financial institutions have cut their technology budgets, but some are increasing the amount they spend on payment systems, according to a recent study. About 73% of credit unions and banks are keeping their technology budgets at or below last year’s levels, and 72% of their budgets will be lower than this year’s, according to an Aite Group study (American Banker Sept. 21). However, payment system spending is increasing. A study released last week by a community banking trade group indicates 52% of community banks upped their payment system spending projects from 2007 to 2009. About 11% cut back on payment systems spending. Merchant remote deposit capture, which allows merchants to scan checks for deposit themselves, will increase to 78% by 2011, the study said. It also found that online bill payment has become “ubiquitous.” About 99% of the institutions surveyed said they offer online bill pay. Of those surveyed, 82% said they receive cash letters electronically, and 9% plan to do so next year. Eight percent have no plans to send image cash letters, and 9% have no plans to begin adoption of image receipt by 2011.