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Check 21: Image Is Everything

The latest in capture technology gives CUs entrée into new markets.

July 11, 2011
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Marketing to members

When it comes to marketing smartphone RDC apps, Bowen suggests two avenues. “A credit union that already has mobile banking products can add remote check capture as a new app. Or it can introduce RDC as a stand-alone app that members can download free from an online store, and the credit union then authenticates the user.”

As far as publicizing RDC availability, some credit unions use envelope stuffers, billboards, and branch displays. “A more difficult approach,” says Bowen, “is to offer RDC only to those members who can best use it. For example, you won’t approach members who aren’t in good standing.”

Advertising approaches also can follow a broadcast vs. narrowcast appeal. “You can do a Chase-style shotgun blast out to everybody, then qualify respondents,” says Bowen. “But you’ll have to train staff on how to deliver the bad news: ‘Sorry, we can’t accommodate your request at this time.’ ”

The other method is to set predefined criteria and then send e-mail invitations to a member subset.

Bowen says fees for an RDC app can be bundled among other products, such as online banking, for a monthly fee. “Or, you charge a small convenience fee for every deposit. The rationale is that the service saves members on postage or making trips to a branch or ATM.”

Teller capture

Pratt says credit unions now ask questions about branch and teller capture that are more strategic than technological. “On the branch side, credit unions were among the first to integrate check capture technology into their back-counter functions,” he says. “The problem was that tellers weren’t there to find mistakes or answer questions—a drag on efficiency. Now the question for credit unions is whether to integrate check capture right at the teller window for the maximum possible efficiency.”

“Teller capture is more integrated than standalone branch capture, where the scanner station is at the back of the branch, and therefore more efficient,” says Bowen. “But it’s also more expensive. Typically, if a credit union starts with branch capture, it’s slower to expand to teller capture because much of the potential savings has already been achieved, and due to the added integration and investment. Credit unions that start from scratch now usually will see teller capture as their best option.”

As far as next-step advances in RDC technology, Pratt says to look for convergences. “We’re looking closely at—and are close to—converging capabilities and technologies with our check capture devices. Along with getting faster, smaller, and less expensive, there will be such features as connectivity to smart cards and the ability to digitize other transactions and integrate checks with back-office functions like accounting software.”

Tilbury says to look for mobile deposit capability soon on iPads and Android tablets.

In the meantime, Pratt advises credit unions to look at teller capture and pursue small businesses.

“Also examine the implications of smartphone RDC,” he says. “Take into account the software necessary for the image correction, repair, and formatting that make smartphone images comply with applicable standards—items that aren’t issues when using a dedicated check scanner. But don’t be a late adapter; it puts you at a disadvantage on per-unit check processing.”

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