Although Americans may be writing fewer checks today than they were 10 years ago, checks are not about to go the way of dinosaurs. In fact, we still write checks totaling $26 trillion a year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. For financial institutions this has meant finding ways to process those payments as quickly and efficiently as possible, with game-changing technologies like remote deposit capture.
A recent frenzy of media reports on RDC drives home this point, and has helped to bring the topic to boardrooms at financial institutions large and small. Some of these FIs are just entering the fray, and are eager to learn how RDC can reduce overhead and improve operations. At those FIs with existing RDC offerings, however, the conversation often focuses on evolving programs to support new revenue opportunities and greater customer stickiness.
Technology is a rapidly evolving field, and financial technologies like RDC are no exception. In fact, what I’ve recently discovered in meeting with FIs that are offering RDC is that many feel as though they are stuck in the “Stone Ages” relative to market developments. The unfortunate fact is that many are.
Remember Moore’s Law? It holds that computing power doubles about every two years. Well, it’s been eight years since the Check 21 Act made possible widespread adoption of RDC, and many of the earliest platforms just aren’t up to the job of supporting requirements for newer, fast, better remote capture solutions. In some situations, in fact, bank and credit union executives complain the improvements in customer service and operational efficiencies that were promised early on by their vendors never fully materialized.
Some problems came about due to the use of “thick client” technologies in early RDC offerings. Thick client solutions are simply too clunky to support many of the newer, more elegant RDC solutions that have been the talk of the industry. Web-based solutions are essential, and FIs that have implemented Web-based solutions are the ones drawing the most attention from the media. Yes, the media. Articles describing the benefits of new web-based RDC applications (like mobile check deposit) have appeared in dozens of publications across the country over the past several months, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, consumer demand for mobile banking applications is high, and mobile check deposit is driving a significant share of that demand as well.
Under these circumstances it would seem easy to adopt a sense of complacency, to assume that all RDC platforms and service providers are pretty much the same and that RDC will sell itself. Complacency is rarely a viable strategy, however, in highly competitive markets like financial services. Flexibility is far more preferable, especially when it comes to RDC solutions providers and implementations.
This has become ever more apparent as FIs that were early adopters of RDC look to evolve their programs, or as we like to say here at Cachet look to unleash the real power of RDC.
We’re seeing increased interest in RDC solutions like merchant capture, for example, which can significantly impact branch and back-office operations, as well as improve customer service and stickiness. RDC may not be a solution every merchant needs, but for those that accept checks, the ROI can be quite compelling. Indeed, the experiences of clients we’ve work with suggest that improvements to critical processes like cash flow and forecasting analyses often exceed their most optimistic expectations for merchant RDC.
Success in any business requires commitment. At Cachet, we’re committed to providing unprecedented levels of support to help our clients achieve their goals in deploying RDC. We also offer flexibility to evolve with their customers’ changing needs. After all, this is no business for dinosaurs.