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Blue Skies

Along with bankers and consultants, BS&T asked several technology providers and experts for their views on the prospects for financial technology in the new year. The common thread among their visions: optimism.

Danne Buchanan
NetDeposit (Salt Lake City)

"Check 21 traditionally has been viewed as legislation that improves check-processing operations. In 2005, it will be viewed as an opportunity for financial institutions to retain and acquire new customers. Industry-leading banks quickly will take advantage of the new rules and implement new technology that allows their customers to remotely capture checks and electronic information at their place of business. Financial institutions can expand their markets without the need for a branch network."

Fred Redick
Strategic Business Manager, Financial Solutions
Epson America (Long Beach, Calif.)

"Some banks will be ahead of the Check 21 curve, gaining substantial competitive advantages. The promise of Check 21 will be fully realized once banks strategically reengineer their check infrastructure for image capture. By distributing image capture all the way to the teller window, additional benefits will begin to surface: balanced transactions can be introduced directly into the payment stream, improving customer service, improving funds availability and substantially reducing Day 2 processing."

Alan Trefler
Founder and CEO
Pegasystems (Cambridge, Mass.)

"Look for major improvements this coming year in the automation of banks' most complex processes - particularly exception processing - thanks to the SWIFTNet Exception and Investigation initiative. The initiative will make the inter-bank communication of exceptions far more predictable and consistent, allowing the receiving application to accurately interpret the message and expedite and automate resolution."

George Ravich
Chief Marketing Officer
Fundtech (Jersey City, N.J.)

"Big banks will continue to set the pace. They have the resources to dominate the market and are able to invest in both marketing and the systems that deliver the most innovative services. However, smaller banks have new ways to level the playing field. More so than ever before, smaller banks are able to deliver cutting-edge services by tapping into all kinds of systems that are now available on an ASP basis. In addition, as 'Wintel' systems have become very powerful and very affordable, smaller banks are now able to deploy some of the best systems in the market, enabling them to provide their clients with sophisticated services."

Joe Kniceley
Vice President, Payment Solutions Group
NCR (Dayton, Ohio)

"Check image capture at the commercial customer site will be successful and proven with limited image exchange volume. Most volume will be cleared via IRD printing and processed as prime pass items. But banks' commercial accounts are vulnerable, and competition from aggregators and bank clients themselves will only intensify. Branch capture at the teller has been over-hyped, and we will see some movement to back-counter capture due to lower implementation costs. Image exchange will not kick in next year, because banks are still trying to figure out all the 'Day 2' issues. For example, banks need to get their customers over to image or safekeeping accounts and off paper. It will be 2006 before volume starts to ramp up."

For more responses, exclusively for BS&T's online readers, click here

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