Imaging Evolution

By Robert, Katie | Independent Banker, October 2000 | Go to article overview

Imaging Evolution


Robert, Katie, Independent Banker


Electronic document imaging moves from the backroom to serve the entire bank

When Texas National Bank in Tomball, Texas, opened in 1997, Steve Vaughan, president and CEO, had an idea about using imaging technology. After a lot of hard work, the bank's customers now can look up cleared checks and view bank statements on their own computers. They simply log onto the bank's Web site.

Document imaging systems, initially relegated to storing customer checks electronically, is becoming a way to maintain electronically paper files throughout the bank. Instead of bankers searching through piles of papers to document a loan or maintain a trust account, imaging systems are keeping information organized and easy to retrieve.

"Once you know about imaging, you won't want to be without it," says Sam McGee, vice president of electronic banking services at Texas National. "Think of the money you will save for file storage, and the time and manpower used for research you would also save if you used imaging."

The imaging process at Texas National Bank begins when a customer comes in to open an account or fill out a loan application for the first time. The customer's driver's license, all paperwork and all checks written or deposited are scanned. "Once you scan the information, it will always be there," McGee says. "The customer will benefit by accelerated transaction times. It also makes tellers more confident in identifying who their customers are by pulling up a copy of the driver's license."

McGee says the biggest pitfall to the imaging system is the amount of hard-drive space check imaging takes up. Texas National's server cost about $17,000 and requires 180 gigabytes of computer memory. The bank has used about 70 gigabytes up to this point, and McGee says that 35 to 40 percent of that computer memory is taken up by check imaging. "In the future, I would like to look at recreating disk space by getting rid of old check images that aren't being used anymore."

When most paperwork at your bank is imaged, how do you keep the information safe? At Texas National, the bank employees are broken down into groups, each group or "base" having a different level of clearance with different privileges. Everyone who works at the bank can pull up the images, but only certain groups can make changes.

Ken Johnson is managing director of the Affiliation Program at Alex Sheshunoff Management Services LLP, a bank consulting firm in Austin. Johnson says that integration is the first step in bringing imaging to your bank. "But having imaging technology on the premises is only half the battle," he says. "Are you going to be able to get that information to your employees and customers? …

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