Despite the fact that it handled its own printing, the Bank of Tennessee's statements had not materially changed since the bank was founded in 1974. And through its services division, BT Services, the bank handles processing and printing for 14 other community banks; on the printing side this translated to 80 different form types with data feeding from four sources. "We're not print shops, but we continue to try to be," says Phil Haumiller, evp of operations at Bank of Tennessee.

In addition to the cost, complexity and inflexibility of its print operation, the printing equipment was at the end of its useful life and needed replacement. And the bank was not able to provide the kind of seamless e-delivery of statements that it wanted to.

Bank of Tennessee, and the majority of its customers, use Fidelity as their core processor and VSoft as their image provider. But Fidelity's statement production capability didn't offer the flexibility that the bank wanted. The Bank eventually selected Data Oceans, an outsourced software company that pulls data from the banks' legacy data and imaging systems, merges and customizes according to business and marketing rules set up by each bank. The files are then either sent to a printing vendor that prints, stuffs and mails, or delivered electronically to consumers.

Bank of Tennessee's initial investment was substantial - $140k or 15 percent of the annual IT budget - with projections that costs will be recouped in about 18 months. Hard savings translate to an average of .25 per statement for print delivery and .70 per statement for e-delivery. The savings derive from the bank not having to replace its obsolete printing plant and reducing the number of pages printed because it could print on both sides after the first page. Bank of Tennessee also has the ability to more effectively take advantage of postal service bulk rates, use standard envelopes, and avoid buying and storing "shell" letterhead for its financial printing clients. Other notable numbers: The burden on Bank of Tennessee's IT staff was reduced by 50 percent, and processing errors were reduced 35 percent in the first six months.

The bank has learned a couple of surprising things about its customers, and its customers' customers, with complaints coming about everything from delivery a few days later in the month to the way check images appear on the statement and the fact that the statements were no longer pre-punched for three ring binders.  "We've learned how much customers really depend on the statement," he says.

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