While most banks still turn a cold shoulder to teller capture, Hampden Bank is a happy contrarian. Its project is already showing returns and is on a fast track to myriad benefits, not the least of which includes tellers always showing their good sides. "We want our tellers to be forward facing and not back facing when it comes to the consumers," says Sheryl Shinn, svp, information technology & operations for Hampden Bank. 'When we were using branch capture, tellers would have to go to the back office [for scanning]."

To keep tellers facing forward at their stations-all the better for cross selling and customer service- Hampden Bank last fall embarked on an image capture deployment that allows that allows a wide array of immediate document scanning activities at the teller window at the bank's nine locations.

Just a few months in, Hampden's on pace to save $59,000 per year on items like virtual tickets, over the counter fees and the calculated labor savings from tellers not having to scan checks as a separate job activity-which by itself totals almost $12,500 per year.

Soft benefits include faster research, fraud detection, more efficient processing and reduced errors due to a vast reduction in keystrokes. The bank estimates it will take about a year and a half to recoup the total investment.

For Shinn, the ability to view images of documents quickly on screen, for example, has been a revelation. "The research time savings have been incredible. When we get requests for deposit or loan tickets, or if we want to do research ourselves, we no longer have to search through boxes of documents that are in the basement."

The bank purchased Open Solutions' tMagic Teller Capture platform. The system enables tellers to capture and scan checks, withdrawal tickets, loan coupons, general ledger tickets, savings and checking deposit slips-all in real time at the point of presentment. After documents are captured, the MICR line data is prefiled and posted into the bank's core platform. Image quality checks are performed, and the teller verifies the prefiled data is in balance before committing the transaction to the database. Imaged documents are sent to an archive and an imaged cash letter is prepared.

The application was first set up in Open Solutions' data center using a test core database plus a test tMagic application. Open Solutions set up six test workstations at the bank to run transactions during a three-week test. Once the bank was comfortable with the system, the vendor turned on the first branch for live test, and then turned deployment over to the bank's IT staff. "We think teller capture's a replacement product for branch capture, it's the last evolution for Check 21. Even though you're deploying more scanners, you can save more money," says Dave Reim, product manager for imaging systems for tMagic, who says the platform's linkage to the core platform enables tellers to learn to use the system with minimal training-they need to merely touch "scan" or "redo" to scan a document.

Hampden's praises of teller capture aside, it is still out front when it comes to adoption among banks of all sizes. "Institutions may not believe [in the reported benefits], though the attitudes toward teller capture are changing," says Bob Meara, a senior analyst for Celent, says teller capture penetration is about 10 percent, with near-term growth not expected to be more than double current levels.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.