Corporate Expects A 'Dynamic' 2006 For Check Imaging

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Look for check images to burn up the broadband next year.

"2006 will be a very dynamic year for image exchange," predicted Robert Coyan, senior vice president, marketing & operations, Corporate One FCU, which serves 770 CUs nationwide.

Credit unions will flock to electronically transmit check data to check processors and the Federal Reserve, he said. "The major institutions have been feverishly developing their electronic clearinghouses to accommodate quantity," Coyan continued. "We are seeing a widespread maturity of systems and infrastructure that will facilitate the growth of forward presentment for credit unions."

The $85-million Credit Union of Ohio sent its first check image three months ago using Corporate One FCU's free Automated Capture & Exchange (ACE) solution, which includes software and check scanners, according to Rich Capuano, the CU's chief financial officer.

About 100 of the CU's peers are lined up to follow suit, Coyan added.

"ACE has delivered several rewards to CU of Ohio," Capuano said. "We've seen a 50% increase in turnaround." Paper checks sent by courier took two days to clear, but check images are credited next-day, he said.

Each of the CU's five branches scans 100% of its checks - including teller counter checks and loan payments - banishing their paper-based parents to storage vaults.

Check images are then presented to the Federal Reserve via Corporate One for clearing, and Corporate One archives the images for seven years in a searchable database. Gone is the need for microfilm copies.

"We've also reduced the need for a courier and the amount of resources we need to process checks," added Capuano. The credit union is saving $1000 per month in courier costs, he said.

Because the ACE solution is free to credit unions that are current users of Corporate One's depository services solution, it was an easy jump onto the image exchange broadband-wagon, Coyan said.

"If your corporate is shouldering the cost of technology, training, and risk, then you have a zero investment - just the human resources and the learning curve," to understand how to capture and process images, Coyan explained.

The CU had to pitch in $3000 for a fireproof vault to store the original paper checks, Capuano said. "No big deal."

"We're seeing widespread acceptance and interest from the credit unions because, in addition to the cost savings of image exchange, check images offer convenience to the member," said Coyan. "If members desire to access check images, they can do so via the Internet. Or members can ask for an image copy at the branch, they don't have to wait for staff to access the microfilm copy."

The 100 Corporate One CUs preparing to exchange images will complete phase one of the ACE rollout by November, Coyan said. In phase one, CUs are replacing their microfilm process with scanning and beginning to populate their image archives.

In phase two-which begins as the electronic clearinghouses mature in 2006-"we'll open up the door to forward presentment and tell the credit unions to get a fireproof vault and cancel their courier services," Coyan said. "That will be a great day for credit unions."

CUJ Resources

For info on this story:

* CU of Ohio at www.cuofohio.org

* Corporate One FCU at www.corpone.org

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