Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: IRDs under Consideration at Bremer

Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: IRDs under Consideration at Bremer

Article excerpt

For more than two years Bremer Financial Corp. of St. Paul has been transmitting digital check images from more than 100 branches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota to an item processing center, then following up by sending the actual paper items.

And more than six months after the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act took effect, the $6.2 billion-asset company continues to do it the same way. However, executives say that Bremer's payments council may make a decision in two to three months whether to begin producing image replacement documents to accelerate check clearing.

While many banks are already preparing to settle checks across electronic image-exchange networks, Bremer is biding its time, said Thomas J. Ryan, a vice president at Bremer and its chief information officer.

Bremer installed check scanners at its branches in 2003. That "positions us to move very quickly to an image environment," Mr. Ryan said in an interview Tuesday. "We're waiting for the industry to mature a little bit."

Korwin R. Lockie, a vice president at Bremer and its director of operations, said that Bremer outsources its item processing work to a center in Lake Elmo, Minn., operated by Fidelity Information Services Inc.

Printing out images into IRDs is "fairly expensive," Mr. Lockie said. "We are evaluating whether that makes sense," Mr. Lockie said.

Couriers are expensive as well, though. Bremer uses trucks that run routes among its offices in western North Dakota. …

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