Dover FCU Realizes Savings with Content Management

Originally published by CU Management, April 2011 – Vol. 34 No. 4

Nationwide, credit unions are being expected to do more with fewer resources. Creating efficiencies is no longer a nice-to-have strategy, but a critical requirement to remain competitive. In the summer of 2005 Dover Federal Credit Union decided to focus on eliminating paper by capturing all documents at the earliest point of presentment, and consistently evaluating document management processes to identify areas of improvement.

This dedication to electronic content management throughout the entire institution has enabled the CU to realize an average annual savings of more than $275,000.The key to the CU’s success has been realizing that an enterprise content management strategy is much more than simply flipping a switch. Instead, it is an ongoing campaign to improve operations.

CUES member Karen Simpson, CCE, executive vice president of $316 million, 36,000-member Dover FCU, Dover Air Force Base, Del., chaired the committee that selected the ECM platform from CUES Supplier member Bluepoint Solutions, Vista, Calif., for its ability to grow with the institution, ease of use and commitment to best practices.

Simpson also is the key driver for ongoing improvement and evaluation of ECM processes. She realized implementing ECM was much more than installing a new solution, but rather a culture shift for the entire institution. Simpson brought head tellers and managers in from all branches, ensured multiple employees were able to participate in product demonstrations and encouraged employees to provide their feedback at various stages of the implementation process.

Under Simpson’s guidance and with the assistance of Bluepoint’s team, the credit union completed an overhaul of its paper-based member records systems and established an electronic, member-centric repository to store all files and documents. Many of the antiquated, time-consuming processes were immediately eliminated.

A prime example is the process for verifying signatures. Prior to moving to an electronic environment, membership signature cards, along with a grayscale photocopied ID, were compiled by the member service representative when the initial account was opened. The documents were then routed to the branch’s teller department for filing. If signature verification was needed at a later date, a request would be made to the original branch where the account was opened, and a faxed copy would be sent. This process usually took a minimum of 15 minutes if no delays occurred. Today there is virtually no delay.

Following this initial phase, the credit union was one of the first in the industry to implement teller-capture to image and archive all documents, including checks, presented at the teller line. Simpson notes that when evaluating electronic check processing options, teller capture was the most logical and efficient method. While many of her peers chose a back-office branch capture solution, Simpson and her team sought a teller-capture application that supported the best practices of capturing all documents, including checks, at the first point of presentment.

This has turned out to be a wise decision for the credit union. “Prior to capturing items at the teller line, we would have tellers online for at least an hour and a half past closing time balancing and closing out their daily work,” says Simpson. “Now, 99 percent of our tellers are closed within five minutes after the branch closes. In addition, our lines move much faster, and members get quicker service. Gone are the days when members have to wait and wait for us to find a document. Everything is available immediately and electronically across all branches.”

Following the implementation of teller capture, the credit union was able to leverage adjustments to cash letters, the standard Check 21 image-based check clearing files, eliminate approximately 37 hours of time per month spent researching items, and also forego the need for cash letter courier service.

In fact, by adding teller capture, the credit union identified an immediate savings of more than $128,000 in the first year, and has reported an average annual savings of $51,620 each year since. The teller capture savings contributes to the total savings attributed to the credit union’s aggressive ECM strategy.

Most recently, Dover FCU partnered with Bluepoint to add transport service to its teller capture platform. This has improved the CU’s item processing by allowing the credit union to transmit daily work, in real-time, from the teller line directly to its third-party clearinghouse. As a result, Dover FCU has eliminated courier fees and is able to take advantage of per-item savings for processing checks.

“Now our items are automatically converted to the industry standard Check 21 images, x9 files, and delivered to our clearinghouse,” continues Simpson. “We also have gained powerful reporting and research capabilities that enable our branch managers to make informed pay or no pay decisions regarding honoring checks being cleared against members’ accounts. We can put funds on hold in a member’s account before the member spends the funds. This also helps with the recent changes to Reg CC, the Expedited Funds Availability Act and day-two processing.”

Dover’s ongoing commitment to document management has yielded significant savings of time, money and resources. The credit union reported an approximate 20 percent increase in assets last year, and celebrated the opening of its seventh branch.

“Our philosophy is putting members first. Excellence is our past, present and future,” says Simpson. “If you have a commitment to putting members first, in addition to a culture of teamwork, the rest takes care of itself. We are dedicated to our members and have ongoing efforts to improve our document management processes. Working with Bluepoint has increased our level of service significantly and, with the time and cost savings, allowed us to focus on our members and continue to strive for excellence.”