Big Check Volumes Aren't Just for Big Banks, a Small Bank Says

By Adams, John | American Banker, May 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

Big Check Volumes Aren't Just for Big Banks, a Small Bank Says


Adams, John, American Banker


Byline: John Adams

Business clients that receive thousands of checks per month typically can't get automated bulk check processing services from a small bank. And if the services matter to those clients, the small banks lose their business to larger rivals.

But Farmers & Merchants Bank, a $2 billion-asset bank based in Long Beach, Calif., is launching an image cash letter service. In doing so, the bank is demonstrating an emerging option for smaller banks to deepen relationships with business clients, speed processing and take greater control over the quality of check images that are prepared for deposit.

"The businesses that we are working with are demanding the type of technology that enables much faster processing, and we want to free them up not worry about banking, but the day-to-day activities of their businesses," says Ken Nagel, CIO of Famers & Merchants Bank, which has a 21-branch network and provides commercial and small-business banking products.

Image cash letter services are similar in concept to remote deposit capture but applied to a much higher of number of checks that are received in a short period of time. The services receive paper or scanned checks and create images of those checks that are ready to be deposited at the bank. The software application is based on x9.37-the American National Standards Institute(http://ansi.org/) protocol for the exchange of data that guides the configuration of check images for deposit.

F&M is using the image cash letter service to target companies that receive more than 2,000 checks per month. The bank, which also offers remote deposit capture for small-volume and lockbox services, hopes to pitch the service for its ability to provide faster access to funds and lower processing costs than other third-party options.

The bank also gains control over the quality of the images for risk and error mitigation. …

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