o put itself on the front lines of the Check 21 paradigm shift, National City Corp. (Cleveland; $140 billion in assets) has embraced remote capture technologies. "Although image exchange was the initial outcome of Check 21, we saw the real value would come with transferring data from images directly into customer accounts," explains Mary Ann Francis, the bank's SVP and manager of global treasury solutions. "We knew electronification was the way to go -- the issue was how to get there."
Using customer specifications as its guide, in 2004 National City evaluated six vendors, which Francis declines to name. "Large customers wanted a streamlined process for depositing orphaned paper checks," she says. "For smaller businesses, the difficulty was affording robust treasury management solutions at all."
National City ultimately selected NDpro Services, the application-service-provider (ASP) model offered by NetDeposit (Salt Lake City). The vendor-hosted solution includes NetCapture for remote cash management and NetConnect for image reprocessing. The data repository resides at NetDeposit.
"NetDeposit provided a strong and scalable customer front end without requiring us to purchase additional hardware or software," says Francis. "And NetDeposit supplies end users with the check scanning equipment, which kept us out of the hardware business."
In mid-2006, a 20-person implementation team composed of employees from both companies completed the rollout in a six-month whirlwind, according to Francis. Integrating the two organizations' back-end IT and IP protocols proved to be the biggest challenge. "For instance, we discovered there are different understandings of commonly used terms, such as 'standard security protocols' and 'standard file formats,'" Francis recalls.
Arriving at definitions that were acceptable to both companies required a great deal of negotiating, Francis adds. Other than that, "Learning to use the product, teaching it to our salespeople, training our customers and even integrating it into our internal systems -- all of that was relatively easy," she says.
Following completion of the installation in October 2006, National City conducted a brief pilot with select customers and, three weeks later, the public rollout commenced. "Within a couple of months we'd signed up 100 customers with many more interested," Francis says.
Remote deposit enables companies to electronically deposit checks from their offices. The NetCapture application remotely captures paper checks, converts them into standardized images and reformulates the images for secure transmission, validation and further processing at NetDeposit, according to the vendor. NetConnect concentrates, processes and connects electronic data to internal and external applications and clearing channels. The application then turns all of the data into an industry standardized file for ingestion into National City's internal systems.
The NetDeposit solution also provides Web-accessible item search and research capabilities, dual control for deposit approval within the customer environment, and multiple reporting options for banks and their customers, the company adds.
And the adoption rate? "We're almost 100 percent above projections, both for customers and volume," Francis says, noting that the capability has allowed National City to expand its footprint. "Overall, it's a runaway success." *
--Anne Rawland Gabriel
***Institution: National City Corp. (Cleveland).
***Assets: $140 billion.
***Business Challenge: Leverage remote deposit capture to offer new cash management products and services.
***Solution: NetDeposit's (Salt Lake City) NDpro Services hosted imaging solution, including NetCapture and NetConnect.