Fremont Bancorp. of Fremont, Calif., said it has reduced research time on automated clearing house transactions and begun to eliminate recurring errors by using specialized software to identify transaction-flow anomalies.
The $2 billion-asset company went live in August with ACH Clarity software from Laru Corp. of El Dorado Hills, Calif., to monitor its transaction flow, said Ann Kolsch, a Fremont vice president.
Fremont had acted as Laru's "beta bank" since February, testing the software in a real-world environment, Ms. Kolsch said.
Though Fremont had not observed any problems with its ACH systems, "we were looking ahead to when the level of payments we're getting electronically is going to increase," she said.
Patti Greenup, Fremont's director of deposit operations, said the Laru software does not perform ACH processing; the company uses ACH software from Goldleaf Financial Solutions Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., to do that. Instead, she said, ACH Clarity functions as a management tool, providing record keeping and reports.
For instance, Fremont uses it to keep originators within their volume and dollar limits, she said.
Ben Waidhofer, Laru's president, said banks processing ACH transactions face a 60-day window of exposure to payment risk, essentially unsecured debt. "It's a real risky spot for the bank if a customer leaves," he said.
In September, Laru announced a partnership with the Western Payments Alliance that gives it access to the regional payment association's members.
Peter Yeatrakas, WesPay's president and chief executive, said financial institutions face a growing risk of fraud and administrative issues because of the increasing use of the ACH network for one-time transactions rather than the recurring payments.
"I think you'll see other institutions taking similar approaches," Mr. Yeatrakas said.
Ms. Kolsch said Fremont Bank wanted to act before problems emerged with the growth of ACH.
"At the high level we know this will happen," she said. Before using the Laru software, "we were having some senior-level conversations: How were we going to manage this risk? How were we going to manage this explosion?"