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Wachovia Makes Remote Deposits Pay

Electronic check images lead to business benefits.

Since rolling out its remote deposit capture service in late July, Wachovia (Charlotte, N.C.) has realized just how strong the demand for check image scanning is among corporate and middle-market customers. "Demand for this product has just been incredible," says Joe Cornelius, vice president, product solutions, Wachovia Treasury Services. "It has been a wonderful product for us in the early going."

Demand has come not only from businesses with broad geographical footprints, but also from local businesses that see the value of avoiding the trip to the local bank branch to drop off checks. But it's the geographically dispersed businesses that can get the biggest benefit. Indeed, a major growth area has been in South and Central America, where Wachovia has been providing the remote deposit capture solution as a service to area banks.

"Instead of them shipping U.S. dollar-denominated deposits to us, they're using the remote deposit capture product to capture images," says Cornelius. "This cuts out the transportation -- a couple of days delivery time."

AFS, a subsidiary of Metavante (Milwaukee), provides the software that powers Wachovia's implementation of remote deposit capture. The software is thick client, with various forms of check image validation occurring at the customer site. "The benefits of thick client in terms of processing speed, in terms of the ability to do CAR/LAR [Courtesy Amount Recognition/Legal Amount Recognition], the ability to do image quality analysis, MICR code line validation, all on the PC before the customer sends the file to us -- we think that's very important to this initial rollout of the product," relates Cornelius.

Through Thick or Thin

The bank also will consider an Internet-based, thin-client front end for future versions, but the scales seem to be tipped toward the thick-client version for now. "We will be investigating an Internet option" for added convenience, notes Cornelius. "But I do think the Internet has some limitations that people need to be aware of in terms of processing speed." Also, even a nominally thin-client solution requires some degree of local customization. "There's always something installed locally to make [thin client] work," he adds.

Despite the one-time deployment chore, Wachovia is focused on offering a complete, full-featured product that's easy to use. "Customers have provided very positive feedback on [ease of use] with the product," relates Cornelius. The business benefits make the case from there. "Once they see what the product can do, it's a very powerful value proposition," he says.

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