DataTrade's PC Imaging Talks to Midrange Systems

A Missouri-based company has developed a low-cost, personal computer-based image processing system that can be linked to midrange computers found in many community banks.

The Imagistics system now being offered by DataTrade Inc., Springfield, Mo., is a PC-based system that lets banks integrate image processing with their existing data processing applications. The software provides the ability to scan documents, store the images on magnetic or optical disks, retrieve images for online viewing and print images on demand.

The software is designed to be compatible with System/36 or AS/400 midrange computers from International Business Machines Corp.

Various Systems Available

The system uses an image processing language called Metaview, a product of Rochester, Minn.-based Metafile Information Systems. Metafile markets its software to banks. Also, companies such Minolta Corp., Eastman Kodak, NCR Corp., Unisys Corp., and others offer document image systems to banks.

Document imaging has not garnered the same attention as check image processing, in which digitized images of checks are encoded and sorted instead of paper. Check image processing systems can cost millions of dollars and are aimed at banks that handle large volumes of checks.

"There is a perception in medium and smaller banks that imaging can only be cost-justified in institutions the size of money-center banks and larger. This is not the case," said Data Trade president Colin D. McAllister, a former executive at Jack Henry & Associates, a community-banking software firm. Officials at Data Trade, which is based in Monett, Mo., estimated that licensing, training, and installation of Imagistics in a midsize facility will cost well under $50,000.

Service to All Departments

Imagistics is designed to accommodate imaging technology in all departments of financial institutions, Mr. McAllister said. Parameter files allow users to define their own corporate hierarchies, branches, locations, departments, and account types.

The system can also be integrated with back-office applications. By using companion software called Spoolview, computer output can be transferred and indexed directly from a host computer to optical disks, a large-capacity storage medium that resembles compact disks for music, eliminating the need to print reports.

Mid-Wisconsin Financial Services in Medford is installing Spoolview in each of its three banks. Senior vice president Lucille Brandner says Spoolview is being used to download reports directly from the $114-million asset bank's IBM System/36 to PC workstations and will be added soon to Mid-Wisconsin Bank of Colby.

"It cuts down dramatically on the paper we print every day," she says. "Many of our reports now go directly to optical storage and can be called up later if needed."

Mid-Wisconsin considered other products, but Ms. Brandner says Spoolview was selected because it would work on the System/36 and because it would allow branch personnel to use the same reports and information as the holding company offices has access to. "Also, we like the availability of other products, including Imagistics," she said.

Imagistics will manage 90% of bank information and allow any authorized employees, while working at their desks, to view and print any document while they are working in their regular and familiar host application screens.

"Even if a bank chooses not to integrate the system into its host, we have our own external data base [CIF and account information], to which any and all images can be attached," Mr. McAllister said.

At least one backup copy of all image files will be maintained off-premises, giving the institution a concise and easy way to facilitate disaster recovery.

Other benefits include the better use of floor space where paper files currently reside; reduction in photocopying and paper handling costs; a high level of document security; and the elimination of lost, missing, out-of-sequence or duplicate files, Data Trade executives said.

In addition to the two systems available today, Data Trade officials said the company is developing another software package to handle the optical storage and retrieval of checks for archival, research, and statement generation. That system should be available later this year.

Ms. Lauryn Franzoni, a freelance banking reporter, is based in Springfield, Mo.

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.