A parallel algorithm is proposed for the solution of narrow banded non-symmetric linear systems. The linear system is partitioned into blocks of rows with a small number of unknowns common to multiple blocks. Our technique yields a reduced system defined only on these common unknowns which can then be solved by a direct or iterative method. A projection based extension to this approach is also proposed for computing the reduced system implicitly, which gives rise to an inner–outer iteration method. In addition, the product of a vector with the reduced system matrix can be computed efficiently on a multiprocessor by concurrent projections onto subspaces of block rows. Scalable implementations of the algorithm can be devized for hierarchical parallel architectures by exploiting the two-level parallelism inherent in the method. Our experiments indicate that the proposed algorithm is a robust and competitive alternative to existing methods, particularly for difficult problems with strong indefinite symmetric part. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.