"I think we can definitely say this is the fastest growing payments-related product we've ever launched," said Brad Ganey, senior vice president of payment services. Twenty-two credit unions are already live, he said.
The new service automates the process of handling returned items from member deposits, eliminating paper check delivery to the credit union. Returns are sent directly to Southwest Corporate from its image exchange networks, the Federal Reserve and direct-exchange banks, reducing potential for losses by providing faster information delivery.
Using credit union-specific criteria, Southwest Corporate can automate the redeposit of nonsufficient funds items, report additional maker and payee information and provide deposit detail reports through an online account management system. Credit unions are able to see return items online the same day they are processed.
"The online reports will provide a link to display images of returned items, item level MICR information, large-dollar notifications and provide a downloadable file for printing returned item substitute checks to give to members," said Bill Brennan, director of item processing operations. "Final settlement will occur between Southwest Corporate and the credit union, simplifying and removing the Federal Reserve Bank from the reconcilement process."
The Federal Reserve's announcement of its intent to collapse all paper check processing into the Cleveland office by fourth-quarter 2009 has left many credit unions wondering about changes in the cost and timing for the delivery of their deposit returns and has helped stir interest in the new product, Ganey said.
Despite the recession, Southwest members haven't experienced an increase in returned items or NSFs, according to returned items statistics provided by the corporate.
Image Deposit Return completes Southwest Corporate's self-mandate to fully automate the credit union deposit process.