Fifth Third Bancorp has licensed Sterling Commerce's Vector electronic check presentment solution as its entree into the ECP arena.
ECP allows MICR information files to be transmitted and received with transactions posted in that day's checking account processing. Matching paper items are transported later, and are reconciled with the prior night's ECP file.
The Vector solution is image-ready, allowing banks to send and receive image cash letters, as well as view images of an item during ECP reconcilement. More than 45 percent of ECP items presented through the nation's primary exchange channel are originated by Vector, according to Sterling Commerce.
Fifth Third chose Vector for several reasons, according to Tom Jordan, technical manager for item processing at Cincinnati-based Fifth Third.
"First, after evaluating competitive products, we determined that it was truly best-of- breed," he said. "And we wanted to leverage our investment in Capture for Vector:Sort, a Sterling product which we have already implemented. We believe the two will integrate flawlessly."
Capture for Vector:Sort provides for the capture of images and MICR data which then populate an archive. It can also be used to manage and vault truncated paper items, in support of image cash letter exchange. By integrating this product with the Vector ECP Solution, $75 billion Fifth Third will be able to image-enable ECP items upon the receipt of physical items. It will also be able to reconcile those items and flag DNP (do-not-pay) items, all in one pass. It also prevents double posting of ECP and physical items.
"Overall, we expect the ECP solution to create new opportunities for fee income, create a more advantageous float situation for the bank, and make our workflow more efficient, especially for Day Two operations," said Jordan. "In fact, it will cut our sorter needs in half compared to two-pass offerings."
Added Don Andres, vice president of business applications at Fifth Third, "We expect to achieve significant cost benefits as well as operational efficiencies. And the fact we're using a single-source vendor for our imaging and ECP systems certainly made perfect sense to our IT staff."
Vector supports the evolution of check imaging, both the conventional paper-to-follow model and the image-to-follow model.
"We know the financial services market is moving to image ECP," said Andres. "With the Vector solution in place, we're positioning ourselves for the future of check imaging. We're ready to be an ECP player."