National City Corp. is installing an image-based wholesale lockbox system in its regional processing centers.
The system is designed to improve customer service in the Cleveland- based bank's cash management operations.
The $36 billion-asset bank plans to replace an existing imaging system at its Cleveland processing center and automate manual lockbox operations in Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis.
In addition, the bank - which is scheduled to complete an acquisition of Integra Financial Corp. in the second quarter - aims to convert Integra's Pittsburgh processing center to the new system.
Installation of the system at all five sites is expected to be completed in the next 12 to 15 months.
"Our objective is to improve productivity, provide a higher level of service, and bring more image-based products to the market," said H. Wayne Anderson, vice president and product manager at National City.
David C. Rogers, senior vice president, cash management operations, added that the system will help the bank to better control its lockbox operations and to continue to meet customer expectations.
The bank has invested about $2 million in a Windows-based software package called CheckBox, developed by Data Management Products, Omaha.
The system, which is designed to operate with image capture transports from NCR Corp. and client/server hardware, should let the bank scan remittance payments and store the images on-line for later use.
CheckBox uses a work group approach to processing in which groups of employees are specifically assigned to a set of lockboxes.
Each work group manages services for its designated accounts, from opening envelopes to depositing checks.
This lets bank officers become familiar with customer processing requirements, said Mr. Rogers.
Work groups also "reduce the number of times an item is handled by approximately 50%, significantly decreasing the opportunity for errors," said Mr. Anderson.
National City plans to add new features to its lockbox service, including customer dial-in access to images of deposited checks, and automated faxing of check images and deposit reports to customers.
The bank will also do "wholetail" processing, which is the batching of machine-readable retail and wholesale items in the same lockbox. Wholetail processing initially will be available in the bank's Cleveland and Indianapolis regional centers.
Ms. Tucker is a freelance writer based in Hazlet, N.J.