Denver-based Belco Credit Union has always been a progressive institution, continually seeking new ways to give its members access to the latest in banking technology. So when a solution arose that would enable Bellco to eliminate paper waste, help the environment and cut operating costs— while also offering its customers streamlined, web-based services—Colorado’s second-largest credit union wasted no time.In March 2010, Bellco implemented CO-OP ATM Check Imaging. Not only did CO-OP ATM Check Imaging cut costs, shorten check clearing time and reduce paper waste for Bellco’s members with checking accounts, it also helped Bellco increase its check and cash deposit volumes significantly.

The switch to CO-OP ATM Check Imaging began when Bellco decided to change EFT processors and chose CO-OP’s EFT processing solution. “We were faced with replacing some of the processes our previous (EFT) vendor used to oversee,” says Doug Kearbey, director of administrative services, Bellco Credit Union. “We wanted to do away with envelope processing and the associated costs, reduce the amount of paper we were using and update our technology.”

Check 21 gave rise to the development of imaging software that enables checks to be handled electronically. CO-OP ATM Check Imaging eliminates the need for deposit slips or envelopes. Cardholders deposit cash and checks directly into the ATM, then receive scanned images of the bills or checks printed on their receipts. CO-OP’s fully integrated system captures, proofs and clears the check images. Since Bellco implemented CO-OP ATM Check Imaging:

  • Cash deposit volume has increased 26 percent.
  • Check deposit volume has increased 16 percent.
  • Member discrepancies have decreased significantly and, when there are discrepancies, Bellco has immediate access to the check images, enabling problems to be resolved more quickly.

“Bellco’s objective is to remain innovative and relevant when it comes to new technology,” says Kearbey. “We were also looking for cost savings that we could pass directly back to our membership.” With many large banks today offering solutions such as check imaging as a matter of course, providing this service—while still keeping costs down—helped Bellco stay competitive.

To implement the system, Bellco began by inventorying its ATM fleet and then set a schedule to upgrade or replace machines as needed. CO-OP worked with Bellco to setup the back-end system to transfer scanned images to the appropriate database for storage. Bellco upgraded 50 of its ATMs with CO-OP ATM Check Imaging, using phased implementation so members were never without ATM access.

“The whole process, from when we inventoried our fleet to when our final machines were converted, took about six to nine months,” says Kearbey. Bellco used in-branch advertising, web banners and mailers to announce the new functionality. Once the switch to ATM Check Imaging took place, the credit union closely monitored feedback to its branches and contact center to ensure that members received the highest level of support.

“The transition went as smoothly as it could have possibly gone,” says Kearbey. Bellco members quickly embraced the new technology. Many of them were already aware of how check imaging worked because they had seen commercials from big banks touting the new technology and were eager to use the service. They appreciate the convenience of not having to worry about deposit slips or envelopes, not to mention the savings to the environment.

“Check imaging further enhances our already competitive suite of technology-based solutions for our members,” said Kearbey. “We believe the benefit to offering these types of solutions is to enhance our members’ overall experience and their ease of use when conducting transactions on their accounts. It gives them peace of mind to know that they can rely on us to provide them with the same high-tech solutions they see at other financial institutions. CO-OP ATM Check Imaging helped us achieve that goal and reap tangible benefits.”