Magazine article American Banker

Client/server Software Can Automate Payment for Safe Deposit Boxes

Magazine article American Banker

Client/server Software Can Automate Payment for Safe Deposit Boxes

Article excerpt

Servantis Systems Inc. has developed client/server based software that automates the accounting and maintenance related to bank safe deposit boxes.

The software, called Vault, automates the billing and receiving of safe deposit box rentals by allowing for direct debiting of bank accounts for safe deposit fees. The software also helps banks track safe deposit box billing, allowing for the assessment of late fees, where applicable.

Though they are not likely ever to become huge fee generators, safe deposit box services can produce incremental revenue for institutions interested in improving their operations by automation.

"(Vault) gives us the flexibility to charge boxes in ways that we haven't done before," said Nora Paige, a vice president with Peoples Bank, the software's beta test site.

Steve Drew, a senior vice president with Norcross, Ga.-based Servantis, said there were widely varying degrees to which banks used their vaults.

To some institutions, vaults are "assets that just sit there," while to others, they represent opportunities to "greatly increase their return on assets," said Mr. Drew, whose company has sold safe deposit box accounting software for several years.

The safe deposit box is one of the few remaining branch service left that requires customers actually to visit the branch. Mr. Drew said banks can tie the new software to customer information files to use the occasion of customer visits as a way to cross-sell bank products.

"We've done a lot of things to open up their eyes to increase their fee income," Mr. …

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