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06:51 PM
Vivian Wagner
Vivian Wagner
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Bank of Edwardsville Prepares for Check 21

Bank already images and stores all checks electronically.

Banks across the country are gearing up for the anticipated check truncation act, officially known as the Check Clearing Act for the 21st Century-or Check 21-which will permit financial institutions to clear and process all checks electronically. One such bank-the Bank of Edwardsville, a community bank based in Edwardsville, Ill., that serves a mostly rural and small-town clientele-has turned to software from VSoft Corp. to bring its check processing capabilities into the electronic age.

About two years ago, the Bank of Edwardsville began using VSoft's suite of software products-at that time called CHEXel, and since renamed eDesk-to help it manage the imaging, storage and retrieval of check data. In February 2002, it added a new module for branch item capture, which facilitates the transfer of electronic data from its 13 branches to its main data processing center.

Preparing for Truncation

Through its use of VSoft's eDesk, the Bank of Edwardsville, with more than $985 million in assets, has positioned itself to reap the time and labor savings related to check truncation and remote item capture.

The modules of VSoft's eDesk, including check imaging, archiving, image statements, and branch item capture software, are intended to make the interpretation, storage and transfer of data and images easier and more efficient. Indeed, the Bank of Edwardsville has been pleased with the performance of VSoft's software over the past several years, and hopes to continue to rely on new and upgraded products from the company. "It's very flexible," says Dennis Hessel, president of bank data services for the Bank of Edwardsville. "When we want new features, VSoft can do it very quickly."

The image archiving module of VSoft's eDesk has been particularly helpful to the bank, since it allows branch employees to access and research documents instantaneously.

"They can take care of the customer right there," according to Hessel. "If they're working on a problem, they can solve it right there."

The image archiving also eliminates the need for producing microfilm, since documents are stored electronically. This has proven to offer significant time and cost savings to the Bank of Edwardsville. "They do not have to microfilm the work at the branches, so it saves time and labor," according to Hessel.

Branch Capture Benefits

The bank also has gotten good results from VSoft's branch item capture system. With this system, in place since 2002, trained professionals at each Bank of Edwardsville branch use Dayton, Ohio-based NCR TS400 desktop scanning machines to scan in everything that customers bring to the branches: checks, deposit slips, loan payment coupons, etc. The branches then use the VSoft technology to transmit through T1 lines blocks of this data at several intervals throughout the day to the bank's data processing center in Edwardsville, where it is processed and archived.

The branch item capture system allows the bank's branches to work more efficiently with the thousands of paper items they deal with each day. At one time, each branch had to gather together all of the hard copies of items and physically send them to the main processing center. Since the introduction of branch item capture, the Bank of Edwardsville's workload has become more manageable.

"With this, it allows us to spread the workload throughout the day," says Hessel. "We don't have a big crunch at the end of the day."

Managing Workloads

One of VSoft's primary goals is to aid banks in their quest to become increasingly paperless. "We bring a lot of check processing knowledge with our company," says Murthy Veeraghanta, VSoft's president. "We understand the industry."

VSoft works closely with banks to determine their software needs, and then designs software that meets these needs. "What we really bring to banks is the fact that we listen to their needs," says Veeraghanta. "Our products are based on customer feedback, and not what we thought up in a closed-up room."



INSTITUTION: Bank of Edwardsville (Edwardsville, Ill.)

ASSETS: More than $985 million

BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Image all checks to streamline operations and cut costs, and be in compliance with new regulations.

SOLUTION: Vsoft Corp.'s (Duluth, Ga.) eDesk suite of applications; NCR (Dayon, Ohio) TS400 desktop scanning machines.

KEY QUOTE: "It's very flexible. When we want new features, VSoft can do that very quickly." -Dennis Hessel, President, Bank Data Services, Bank Of Edwardsville

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