Tellers Still Relevant

A Fresh Look at Front Counter Check Capture

Originally posted at on December 11, 2017

Among the shiny technologies being dangled at credit unions—and the many varieties of fraud risks—is there a compelling case for investing in advanced check capture at the front counter/teller line in 2018?

Yes—if you take omni-channel customer experience seriously, and consider all the benefits of check capture integrated into the teller workflow.

Different factors make front counter check capture a sound investment in today’s environment, compared to only a few years ago. But it remains true that if you evaluate the true, total life-cycle costs of adding or upgrading now, you may be surprised at the potential payoff.

The Changing Face of Check Deposits

Many banks and credit unions have already discovered the hard cost savings from moving check capture to front counter—speedier clearing, fewer errors and returns, fraud control. That said, not all institutions have moved check capture to the teller line, and a large proportion of the legacy systems in place are incapable of playing a role in an omni-channel strategy. This is particularly true for community and regional institutions.

But, valuable as this technology has been, don’t diminishing check volumes seem to suggest diminishing returns for new or additional investment in this area? Not if you consider that the rate of consumer check decline has plateaued, while business checks grew slightly last year (Federal Reserve and AFP). Checks will be with us for some time to come—certainly long enough to factor into a check capture ROI analysis.

What about the wave of branch closures year over year as digital banking reaches nearly full acceptance? Gartner Group’s prediction that consumers will be using online and mobile channels for 85% of their banking by 2020 appears to be correct. And 2020 is right around the corner.

Like checks, however, branches are not going away within the planning horizon for a 2018 investment. The majority of all banking services are still offered only at branches. Further, a reported 84% of all consumers continue to use teller services, and over a quarter of all branch visits include check deposits.

Advanced Check Deposit Benefits Drive Life-Cycle Savings

A new resource is available for banks and credit unions that want to dig into the total life-cycle costs and savings from advanced check deposit solutions, in a white paper from Alogent issued in late November 2017. This new report includes a point-by-point update of a 2014 white paper, within the context of today’s environment. (Request a copy of Investing in Teller-Front Counter Capture: An updated look at the true cost of ownership.)

Today, as in 2014, the key to evaluating an investment in the year to come is to include the true, life-cycle costs. And the six capabilities that hold the key to determining these costs have all been impacted by recent developments:

  1. Transaction validation, which provides a fail-safe against scanner and human errors, now benefits from tight integration with all deposits. The costs of error and fraud detection, prevention and remediation must be considered.
  2. Cross-channel duplicate detection has changed with the growth of remote and mobile deposits. Check capture is an essential component of your larger an omni-channel strategy.
  3. Scanner support requirements have changed as technology has made it efficient for tellers to take on capture, correction and balancing, while acting as highly-valuable customer engagement agents. Labor and opportunity costs are part of the analysis.
  4. System reliability has been transformed by shifts from thick- to thin-clients, reducing costs while boosting service standards. Both implementation and ongoing support requirements are affected.
  5. Portability allows today’s capture solutions to independently adapt to user-generated or pre-built interfaces.
  6. Flexibility to work with processing partners has always been an asset, and today’s solutions offer flexibility in how data flows from the capture solution(s) in place to downstream processing.

Within the context of today’s banking environment, there may never be a better time than 2018 to invest in an advanced front office check capture solution. As you plan your resource allocations, take a fresh look at all the costs and savings.


Investing in Teller/Front Counter Capture White Paper