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Kristi Nelson
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A Net Gain

Pacific Continental Bank makes the move to browser-based imaging and discovers new revenue stream.

A browser-based item imaging system turns a profit for Pacific Continental Bank

In the course of making the move to browser-based imaging, Eugene, Ore.-based Pacific Continental Bank has discovered a new revenue stream.

The bank, which caters to about 15,000 community-based businesses, was moved to replace its creaky, seven-year-old DOS-based imaging system when the system's vendor recently migrated to an NT environment. Rather than purchase new software and hardware for the upgrade, Pacific Continental decided to look at other offerings. An investigation led to Bankware, Birmingham, Ala.

"We stumbled onto Bankware and its ImageCentre, and what excited us about their product was everyone was moving into an NT environment, but they went the additional step of the browser-based," said Pat Haxby, vice president and chief information officer at $300 million Pacific Continental. "It gave us some efficiencies that we hadn't enjoyed in that DOS-based environment."

Installation took place in January, with Bankware providing the physical installation of the hardware and software, plus testing, staff training and support. "The entire installation was about a two-and-one-half-week process for us," said Haxby.

Today, Pacific Continental uses ImageCentre to process an average of 30,000 items per day. ImageCentre has been integrated with the bank's in-house core processing system, JHA's 20/20, which runs on an IBM AS/400.

Productivity has zoomed in the months following installation. Previously, all check image and statement research was centralized, requiring customer service reps to fill out a form and fax or call in the information. The browser-based system allows the bank to take that virtual desktop to everyone within the organization. "Not only is it a 'wow' factor for the client," said Haxby, "but it freed up about six hours within our department."

This spring, remote image capture equipment was installed in the bank's Portland facility to capture, process, and encode items. Prior to installing ImageCentre, couriers had to carry proof work 100 miles to Portland for capture, then take it back up the interstate for delivery to the Fed. That required a 2:00 p.m. cut-off time for the Portland location. Anything presented after that time was saved for the next business day. "We gave the client immediate credit, but we had that float factor as an expense, because we couldn't clear the checks they were depositing," said Haxby. "We were estimating that was costing us $25,000 per year."

Additional efficiencies were gained from ImageCentre's Computer Output to Laser Disk (COLD) solution. "We've got ten offices in our organization and we were doing a lot of remote printing to green-bar printers," said Haxby. "With this browser-based system and COLD reporting, we reduced that physical print dramatically."

However, it's with the addition of ImageCentre's Statements on CD that the bank will be able to begin making money from its new imaging system. The CDs show all of the activity of an account, as well as physical images of every check written and deposited. "I've given my customers a research tool that I've never been able to offer before," said Haxby. "We have title companies and property management accounts that are just eating it up."

The bank has already begun targeting customers, who are presented with a complimentary CD of their own account activity. Customers who sign on are charged $50 monthly for the CD statements, with the option of quarterly statements at $75 each or an annual disk for $100.

So far, the bank has had more than a dozen takers, but it expects many more. The target goal is $60,000 a year in revenue. "We know it's not going to be desktop to every business client that we have, but the people that will find worth will be willing to pay for it," said Haxby.

Even though the revenue stream of the CD-ROM is taking off, Haxby said imaging is not an inexpensive world for anyone. "True payback was expected to be about three years, but we're gaining some efficiencies that weren't even part of our analysis."

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