Eccho introduces cheque payments certification programme

Source: Electronic Check Clearing House Association

Today the Electronic Check Clearing House Organization (ECCHO) announced the launch of the National Check Payments Certification (NCPC) program designed to help financial institutions enhance critical check knowledge essential for check products and processing.

UMACHA, Viewpointe and WACHA are partnering with ECCHO to prepare training for an annual certification exam that ECCHO will administer. Additionally, ECCHO is enlisting other partners to maximize the availability of the program across the entire industry. Initially, these partners are EPCOR and The Bankers Bank.

"Improvements in the check system have changed the characteristics and processing requirements of checks while greatly increasing the efficiency of the check payments system and enabling huge industry savings," said David Walker, ECCHO president. "However, some of these changes have resulted in staffing reductions that dilute the industry's collective expertise." The resulting challenge, replacing traditional paper check knowledge with an understanding of the new electronic check environment, has created the need for a national program for check payments certification.

The rate and volume of change in the check payment system during the past five years are unlike any in the history of U.S. payments. According to the "The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study" released in December 2010, more than 96% of all checks are already processed electronically. The volume of checks processed in 2009 was more than 24 billion with a value totaling $31 trillion. Given the significant volume and value of checks in the payments system, the degree of operational and product change resulting from the shift from paper to electronics, and the complexity of ongoing regulatory changes, industry participants need to maintain and cultivate additional check expertise.

The NCPC certification exam will test the knowledge levels of individuals in four subject areas:

1) Rules, laws and regulations

2) Fraud and risk mitigation

3) Check operations

4) Check products

The training and examination are designed to be beneficial to payments professionals across their institutions, including those that work in check, ACH, treasury, product, card, fraud and risk mitigation.

ECCHO and its partners are committed to delivering a quality program for the industry. The first publicly available certification exam will occur in spring 2012 with preparation for the exams beginning in 2011.

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