Sovereign Bank introduces new online business banking services

Source: Sovereign Bank

Sovereign Bank today officially unveiled a new program of onsite electronic banking solutions, which are designed to enhance convenience for businesses by bringing banking capabilities directly to their locations.

"No longer are companies reliant upon brick and mortar to do banking, nor do they need to be constrained waiting for their bank to deliver time- sensitive information," says Marshall Soura, executive vice president and Global Solutions Group managing director for Sovereign Bank. "Our integrated solutions help businesses make the shift from paper to electronic processing, allowing receipts, payments and information to be managed more efficiently."

Sovereign's Onsite Banking solutions, which bring automation to various phases of the payments cycle, include the following:

Onsite Check Deposit - Using a desktop scanner, businesses across the U.S. can deposit checks directly from their offices into their Sovereign accounts. Customers scan checks received from their creditors and electronically transmit these images to the bank, where they are processed through the clearing system.

Sovereign's service is built entirely on a Web-based platform. Unlike thick locally installed software, where functions can only be performed on the single PC housing the software, Sovereign's thin solution allows authorized individuals at a company to conveniently review checks and make adjustments from any PC with an Internet connection. Additionally, customers can realize end-to-end processing through the export feature, which allows invoice information to be directly uploaded to their accounts receivables system.

Len Goodman, Senior Vice President and Director of Global Solutions Product Management for Sovereign Bank, indicated that "Onsite Check Deposit allows businesses to take advantage of the benefits of Check 21. These include improved availability, reduced costs and more efficient processing, as they no longer need to physically transport checks to the bank. While Onsite Check Deposit can prove beneficial to a company with a single location, those requiring multiple depository banks to accommodate different geographic locations may realize even greater benefits."

Since its rollout in December 2005, customers most often cite dependability of the system and their ability to reduce collection float as key benefits of Sovereign's Onsite Check Deposit service. Corvette America, a manufacturer and global distributor of Corvette products to the automotive aftermarket, chose to use the Onsite Check Deposit service when their company relocated headquarters to Reedsville, PA. Dave Hall, President of Corvette America, said, "Sovereign's Onsite Check Deposit service has streamlined our entire cash handling process. We can now make check deposits without leaving the office and have expedited availability of those deposits by approximately two banking days."

Onsite Official Check - Designed to provide a timely, cost-effective payment option, Onsite Official Check benefits businesses that need to issue guaranteed funds in the form of a paper instrument. Typical businesses that may benefit from the service include mortgage companies, auto dealers, insurance companies, etc. for use in funding new mortgages, paying-off existing loans or settling insurance claims.

The flexibility of Onsite Official Check allows businesses to create, approve and print Official Bank Checks via secure, Web-based technology - with any combination of these functions being fulfilled at either the company's headquarters, subsidiary or field locations, depending on their internal structure and control requirements.

Specially modified MICR printers and free blank check stock are placed in locations the company chooses. Built-in security features include separation of duties through user-level identification and functionality access, verification of available balances during the approval process, proprietary information generated only when a check is printed and immediate electronic confirmation once a check has been printed.

Automated Alerts and e-Statements - These value-added services, offered free to Sovereign customers, allow businesses to maximize efficiencies by receiving electronic notification of time-sensitive bank information as soon as it is available. Information is stored on a Web-based platform, enabling users to access the information from any location at their convenience.

Automated Alerts immediately notify businesses, through e-mail or cell phone messaging, when pre-set balance criteria are met and/or incoming wires are received. The information can then be acted on to maximize daily cash positions. These secured messages are encrypted and require a password to access.

The e-Statement service uses e-mail to alert customers when their statements are ready. Through a secure Web site, customers can then view, sort, print and download up to 12 months of statement activity in a variety of formats. Len Goodman indicated that "Over 300 businesses are already using Sovereign's e-Statement service to electronically access account statement information as soon as it is produced by the bank. Customers appreciate electronic delivery since their statements are available up to two weeks earlier than receiving a paper statement through the mail. This gives them a jump on their reconciliation process and lets them close their books far earlier than in the past."

Companies designate an e-Statement administrator, who can entitle multiple users with access to information for specific or all accounts. User activity is auditable by means of individual logins and passwords. Later this year, Sovereign plans to add account analysis statements and check image retrieval to its e-Statement service.

"As the treasury management industry continues to evolve, Sovereign's Onsite Banking services are another example of our commitment to deliver innovative solutions that meet the changing needs of our customers," says Soura. "We will continue to invest in technology that brings new capabilities and improved efficiencies to our customers."

Sovereign recently announced an Onsite Banking account opening service for businesses. First to market with this innovative solution, Sovereign's Onsite Banking account opening service allows accounts and other commercial services to be electronically opened from a customer's location.

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