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Teller Image Capture – Myths and Realities: Part I

iStock_000019960295XSmallTeller Deposit Automation (TDA) is where retail banking meets payment processing. The imperatives that drive these worlds are profoundly different. The previous installments dealt with some of the business case aspects of TDA. This post touches on systems integration and related business implications.

Retail banking and payment processing- shotgun wedding, a bridge too far? Let us see.

A common solution, seen mostly in the credit union world, is a check capture system interfaced with a receipt printer. That’s right, I did say “capture” not “deposit automation”, because that is exactly what this approach offers. Check images are captured after the teller has processed and posted the deposit. The benefits of keystroke reduction, and automated proofing and balancing at entry are absent. The approach adds the capture of check images on top of the original teller workflow- whatever that happens to be. Many solution providers offer this option, because of the challenges- both technical and political- associated with integrating deposit automation modules with teller platforms. So, if you opt for this solution, be aware that it is limited to image capture for archival and does not bring workflow efficiencies to the table.

Integrating deposit automation with teller platforms sparked a battle royale in the early days of Check 21. Providers of teller platforms saw anything that has to do with teller operations as their turf, while check imaging solution vendors viewed payment processing as their unique expertise. Often, this was reflected into political tension between the retail banking and payment operations groups within financial institutions. Some of the business case arguments I shared in the previous posts had their genesis in this departmental face-off.

There are two general alternatives for integration between teller platforms and deposit automation systems. An early approach, that is still in use widely, is a “toggle hand-off” between the teller host and the deposit automation system. When the teller is ready to accept deposits, she clicks on a button that brings up the deposit automation screens. All operations thereafter are conducted within the deposit automation system. After the deposit is proofed and balanced, the teller clicks another button that yields control back to the teller platform. As you can imagine, this sparked a firestorm of turf battles, as nothing seems to elicit emotion more than the ownership of the user interface. (To be continued in next post)

Written by Vijay Balakrishnan, President of StratEX LLC. Mr. Balakrishnan will be presenting on an Orbograph webcast covering the past, present and future of image capture technologies on May 9th at 2pm ET.

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