The Commonwealth Bank has become the first major Australian bank to implement a centralised national archive of cheque images.
The Commonwealth Bank is the largest cheque processor in Australia, currently processing 450 million cheques annually. Before the introduction of imaging technology, cheques were processed through a combination of manual sorting and data entry, a labour intensive and time consuming process.
The new NCR ImageMark system, which utilises NCR 7780 cheque processors, was implemented in mid-February and is the largest installation of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. The system stores digital images in an archive for instant retrieval via a browser, allowing images of presented cheques to be viewed remotely.
Senior executive of operations centres for the Commonwealth Bank, Graeme Towers says the new system was introduced after six years of extensive research and development into automated cheque and voucher processing by the bank.
"The new technology has enabled the Bank’s operations to move from a factory environment to an office environment," he says. "Previously all cheque value data had to be manually entered and cheques physically handled. Now most of the data is automatically collected, and the rest is entered by staff keying from images on a PC."
Overall benefits include quicker access to transaction information, less complex account reconciliation, simplified processing and the ability to deliver improved customer support, he adds.
The new platform has been supplied by NCR in partnership with EDS Australia, which manages the Bank's IT systems. EDS has already implemented an NCR ImageMark system in the financial services sector in New Zealand.