On Nov. 9, Suncoast became the first financial institution to deploy Diebold's (NYSE: DBD) full deposit automation solution when it launched an extended pilot on Diebold's advanced-function Opteva automated teller machines (ATMs).
The seventh-largest credit union in the United States, Suncoast launched the first phase of its deposit automation pilot in October 2004 when it became the first financial institution to go live with Diebold's ImageWay ATM solution for check imaging. The first phase of the pilot included Diebold Opteva ATMs positioned in the employee lounge on Suncoast's main campus in Tampa, Fla. The extended pilot will introduce Suncoast members to the technology.
Wanda Chambers, vice president of document services for Suncoast, said the technology was well-received by employees.
"Our employees have really embraced this technology," Chambers said. "The response has been very positive and we've seen wonderful volume in the employee environment."
The extended pilot will also include extended features. In addition to Diebold's ImageWay ATM solution, Suncoast will also take advantage of the balance of Diebold's deposit automation offering. Diebold's deposit automation includes four components: Diebold's Intelligent Depository Module; Bulk Note Acceptor; the ImageWay ATM agent, Xpedited by Alogent; and the ImageWay server. Diebold's comprehensive solution allows for reliable transactions, faster acknowledgement of deposited funds, increased check processing speed and reduced costs and risk of fraud.
Maria Garcia, senior vice president of automated services for Suncoast, said Diebold's deposit automation solution is "a better way" for the credit union and its members.
"The deposit automation project stems from the need to find a better way to process the large number of deposits we take in daily through our full- service ATMs," Garcia said. "We want our members to benefit from more efficient methods of delivering services. If we can cut costs by eliminating time-consuming, manual processes - such as those required by the traditional methods of accepting deposits at the ATM - then we are able to return the savings to our members via lower interest on loans and higher deposit rates."
Suncoast members who use ATMs in the pilot will have the opportunity to deposit checks without the use of an envelope or deposit slip. Members will receive confirmation of their deposits, including an image of the check printed on the receipt. Diebold's deposit automation solutions also enable the deposit of stacks of cash, up to 100 notes, without the use of an envelope. And because Diebold's deposit automation solution provides verification of deposits, members may have access to their deposited funds more quickly than ever before.
Chambers said deposit automation will enable Suncoast members to experience a faster, more convenient deposit process, which provides an incentive to complete these types of transactions at the ATM.
"Honestly, how nice is it to not have to complete an envelope or deposit slip?" Chambers said. "This can save the member some time on the front end of the process. And having the ability to provide our members with faster access to deposited funds can only be a positive."
A leader in the adoption of deposit automation, Suncoast is also one of the first financial institutions to deploy Diebold's newest version of its Agilis terminal software. Agilis is Diebold's open-standard platform, which interfaces with a variety of multivendor products to decrease the need for backend support while protecting investments in legacy systems. The newest version - Agilis 2.0 - is a true multivendor solution and enables financial institutions to implement the latest technology, such as check imaging, text-to-speech and Web-based functionalities.
David Bucci, Diebold's senior vice president of customer solutions, said Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union has long been driving the introduction of new technology.
"Suncoast is a leader in this industry, and is truly setting the pace when it comes to delivering new functionalities to its members," Bucci said. "Diebold's goal is to deliver self-service products that improve our customers' businesses and provide added convenience for their customers and members. We are proud to partner with Suncoast to rollout the first complete Diebold deposit automation application and to provide the credit union and its members with added functionalities through the use of our newest version of Agilis terminal software. We believe Suncoast will serve as a model for other financial institutions as they move toward the adoption of deposit automation and other emerging technologies."
After replacing the Suncoast ATM network with full-function Opteva terminals, Diebold's Professional Services managed the transition to full deposit automation capabilities. After the Diebold terminal accepts a check deposit, captures images of the check, validates the check images and transmits them to the ImageWay server, the images are processed for Suncoast by Advanced Financial Solutions (AFS). The AFS ImageVision platform provides a full suite of image-based item processing services. Visa Debit Processing Service, Suncoast's ATM terminal driving partner, developed innovative support for the deposit functionality, including support of deposits made by consumers who are not Suncoast members.
Bucci said the massive project required innovation and collaboration.
"This project is a true example of teamwork," Bucci said. "During the process, Diebold and Suncoast truly partnered to ensure we're delivering the best solution available. That meant taking advantage of the expertise in our organizations and of other experts within the industry. The involvement of Alogent, AFS and Visa is an example of how a collaborative approach enabled us to provide Suncoast with a true end-to-end deposit automation solution."
Suncoast is working to ensure members in the 15 counties it serves learn about deposit automation and take advantage of its many benefits. Its deposit automation marketing program includes articles in its member newsletter and "greeters" that interact with members right in the branch. These greeters demonstrate how to use the advanced-function ATMs and answer any questions members have about the new technologies. Diebold encourages its customers to employ similar marketing tools to ensure the success of deposit automation launches.
Garcia said Suncoast is excited about the project and what it will bring to its members, and that the credit union wouldn't have thought of enlisting the expertise of anyone but Diebold.
"We have been a Diebold shop for many years, and every one of our nearly 200 ATMs is a Diebold ATM," Garcia said. "We have experienced the best service and enjoyed top-of-the-line equipment from Diebold. The question would be 'Why another vendor rather than Diebold?'"
Chambers added: "It made sense to turn to our trusted partner when tackling a project as complex and as important as this one is to Suncoast Schools."
After the conclusion of Suncoast's extended pilot, the remainder of its fleet is expected to roll out full deposit automation during the first half of 2006.