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FIS Introduces Consumer Remote Deposit Solution

FIS' consumer-based remote deposit capture offering could create a niche for banks.

In a twist on the remote deposit capture trend, Fidelity National Information Services is bringing RDC into the home. Earlier this summer Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS introduced FIS Xpress Deposit, an RDC product designed for consumers that could create a new niche for banks.

According to Matthew Bowen, SVP and general manager of FIS' RDC business, the company hasn't rolled out any new technology. Rather, it is helping banks deploy existing technology in an innovative manner. All consumers need are a home computer, a flatbed scanner and a broadband Internet connection, he says.

Although consumer RDC has been tried before, TowerGroup senior research director Robert Hunt says, it usually involved customers visiting a retail location, such as a Kinko's. "It hasn't really been done in this form," he adds. "We've matured enough in Check 21 and handling business deposits to take on consumer RDC."

Fruitful Partnership

FIS developed the product in partnership with a client, First Command Bank ($539 million in assets). The partnership goes back to last November when the development and software coding began.

Sherry Sitton, EVP with First Command, says working remotely with clients is old hat for the bank, especially since a good portion of the bank's customer base is military personnel. The Fort Worth, Texas-based bank has a network of 300 independent financial planners/advisers scattered throughout the country that serve military personnel, both active duty and retired, as well as the civilian market, so offering customers the ability to deposit checks from their homes was a good fit with the institution's market.

"We've had experience in dealing with clients remotely," says Sitton. "So we have a lot of expertise in how to present information and present the flow for it to make sense to people who use it. Everything has to be intuitive."

A critical component of Xpress Deposit's ease of use is the single sign-on capability of First Command's Internet banking offering. Customers sign on to a standard Web banking session just once -- depositing a payment is simply an option during the session. There is no software for end consumers to download. Even registration is seamless with the online banking session.

To deposit checks, customers select the account to which they wish to make a deposit, and scan the fronts and backs of the endorsed checks, submitting each separately. An automated e-mail message notifies the customer that the bank received the image, and another e-mail confirms that the bank has approved the image.

Xpress Deposit was developed on a Microsoft SQL database residing at the vendor's application service provider (ASP) operation in Georgia, according to FIS' Bowen. The solution supports most common browsers on PCs and Macs, utilizing the TWAIN standard for flatbed scanners that governs how an image is transmitted from the scanner to the workstation.

TowerGroup's Hunt sees consumer RDC as a perfect fit for banks with a limited branch network and a geographically dispersed customer base, such as First Command. "This is an excellent niche product," he says, suggesting it's a good value-add for relationship building. "I can see this offered to the mass market, but with restrictions, such as deposit limits and extended hold times due to the risk."

Bowen acknowledges there's a good deal of risk aversion among banks when it comes to consumer RDC. But he says FIS has built in several risk mitigation tools, including authentication measures at sign-on and alerts that identify duplicate items. There are also plans to introduce FIS' DepositShield analytics technology, which assesses fraud risk for every deposit.

First Command plans to roll out the RDC service on Sept. 1. But not every customer will be able to use it. As TowerGroup's Hunt suggests, First Command will offer the product to a restricted client base as a relationship builder.

"We are using this product to bundle relationships within the company," First Command's Sitton says. "Customers will need to have been deposit customers for at least six months. They also must have either a credit product or investment product with us. We want to give this upgraded functionality to clients who have an established relationship with us."

FIS' Bowen says the service can be a boon to banks. "For many institutions struggling to raise deposits and differentiate, this is an outstanding offering they can roll out inexpensively," he claims. "It's a sticky product."

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