Albany brings Faster Payments to Cumberland

Source: Albany Software

Regional Building Society, Cumberland, has 'gone-live' with Albany ePAY from pioneering developer of electronic payment software solutions, Albany Software. The payments platform will facilitate the Faster Payments Service (FPS) for Cumberland, who are one of the first Building Societies to offer this service, competing with the high street member banks already offering FPS. Since the go-live date, Cumberland has already submitted over 2,000 transactions valued in excess of £360,000.

Cumberland is a regional Building Society providing mortgages, current accounts and savings accounts, to its customers via branches in Cumbria, Northumberland, South West Scotland and Preston. With the aim of being the first choice for financial services in the communities it serves, Cumberland is committed to staying at the forefront of service, product offering and banking technology.

With the introduction of the FPS in May 2008, the ability to send same-day payments has become increasingly important to corporate and consumer banking customers alike. Having discovered that its previous third party Bacs software could not facilitate the new service, Cumberland looked elsewhere for a solution. Gary Richardson, Assistant General Manager (IT) at Cumberland, comments, "As a current account provider, it is very important for us to be able to offer a service in line with our competitors - namely those banks which are direct members of the FP Service. Same-day payments are particularly important for our business account users dealing with significant sums, as the ability to control these funds and pay suppliers, customers or staff immediately is crucial."

Richardson adds, "Cumberland needed to find a way to provide this service, and our previous Bacs software simply could not do this. Only a very small handful of software vendors are Bacs approved to supply FP solutions, so Albany Software stood out with the professionalism of its approach and with the software to deliver exactly what we require."

The Albany ePAY solution is a highly-scalable, intelligent multi-payment routing solution that has the capability to integrate, connect and deliver from any existing accounting infrastructure. It has been developed using the latest technology and specifically designed to manage multiple payment methods, including Bacs and Faster Payments. At its core is an intelligent processing engine that actively analyses the contents of the data managed to assist the end user in making best practice decisions.

Richardson continues, "The software gives us greater visibility over payments, improving the control we have over the way in which Bacs files are sent. We are currently undergoing a staged operation to transfer all Bacs payments through to Albany ePAY, and once all of our payments are under this central system, our working process will definitely be more streamlined."

Cumberland also invested in Disaster Recovery software from Albany Software, ensuring that the mission-critical data of the Building Society is securely protected. Richardson comments, "As a Building Society, secure and reliable IT is very important to us and it is imperative we have a proven disaster recovery strategy in place. When we purchase any new software system, such as Albany ePAY, we have to demonstrate that we can recover lost information, and that it has proven disaster recovery technology. Purchasing Albany's solution was an easy way to achieve this compliance."

Internet banking across all banks provides customers with the capability to check balances and send individual payments online under the regular three to five working day cycle - unless it is an inter-bank transfer. Through the use of ePAY Cumberland is now offering both corporate and consumer internet banking customers the opportunity to use Faster Payments to facilitate same-day payments direct to Bacs enabling the transfer of individual, batch or multi-bank funds in near real-time. Richardson concludes, "We are continuing to develop our Faster Payments offering through Albany's solution. At present, we offer an outgoing FPS to our internet banking customers, but by late 2010 we hope to send all qualifying Faster Payments transactions through Albany ePAY."

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