SVPCO-Electronic Clearing Services, the electronic check and check image exchange business of The Clearing House Payments Company LLC, last week reported that 99 million check images were exchanged in October, an increase of 23.4 percent compared to the previous month — just short of projected volume of 100 million check images a month by yearend 2006.
"Anybody that's close to this is very positive about the adoption level and the progress that we made this year," says George Thomas, EVP, SVPCO. The progress that SVPCO has made this year wasn't projected to occur until 2007, Thomas says. The organization originally forecast that only 50 million images would be exchanged each month by the end of the year — a figure that was reached by May of this year.
While SVPCO will announce its long-term predictions next month, the organization will say that total image exchanges for 2006 should reach more than 700 million, blowing its initial prediction out of the water, Thomas says.
"In November, the Image Payments Network will exceed forecasted monthly volume of 100 million check images two months earlier than originally anticipated," Thomas says. "Check image volume continues to grow strongly for two key reasons: More institutions recognize the value in migrating paper checks to electronic payments, and SVPCO is making it increasingly easy to connect to the Image Payments Network."
While Thomas says the increase in check image volume is largely the result of more banks signing up, the Federal Reserve played a significant role in the increased volume. The Fed's volume increased 40.4 percent from September to 11.8 million images in October.
In October 2005, daily average items were 317,000, total monthly items were 6.3 million, daily average dollar volume was $2.39 billion, and monthly dollar volume was $47.9 billion.
Recently, New York-based Sterling National Bank ($1.9 billion in assets) began participating in the Image Payments Networks as the first user of the FTP option, an Internet-based connection to the network. Although Sterling is currently the only bank using the FTP option, SVPCO expect more banks, especially smaller banks, to sign on to the low-cost option, Thomas says.
Through October, participating institutions in the Image Payments Network were Bank of America, BB&T, Comerica Bank, Fifth Third Bank, HSBC Bank, Huntington National Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, KeyBank, LaSalle Bank, M&T Bank, National City Bank, PNC Bank, Sterling National Bank, Union Bank of California, Wachovia Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. Through its relationship with the Federal Reserve, the Image Payments Network can reach more than 10,000 endpoints and help financial institutions of all sizes take advantage of image exchange.