The Ronald McDonald House at Rady's Children Hospital in San Diego is using a Digital Check TellerScan 230 at its new facility to capture donations and other checks as images and send them to the $1.5 billion credit union for processing.
The 47-bedroom, 65,000-square-foot house opened this summer and sits atop a parking garage just a hundred feet or so from the front entrance to the hospital.
The new Ronald McDonald House replaces a 28-year-old structure about a fourth its capacity, and the new scanner is helping to quickly process checks coming in as part of the $17 million capital campaign under way to pay for the new home for families away from home while their children are patients across the street.
The desktop check scanner is being used about 200 times a month, with the average check amounting to about $120, according to Gail Sullivan, chief financial officer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego.
"It's really helped us because our staff doesn't have to go to the credit union on a regular basis or have a courier come here now," Sullivan said. "It's increased our ability to be more efficient with our time."
That simple fact is one major reason that Digital Check, the Illinois-based company that builds the device, has seen its sales soar.
"We're one of the original builders of check scanners, but since Check 21, our sales have gone from a few thousand a year to 50,000 or more," said Paul Rupple, director of marketing for the company that stakes its claim as the first to deploy a check scanner at a top 10 bank teller window, the first to introduce a desktop distributed capture device for the Check 21 industry, and the only U.S.-based manufacturer of the devices.
The dropping sticker price for solid, reliable hardware also has helped, with single-feed check scanners running from $200 to $400 or so, up to $800 to $1,500 for batch models, Rupple said.
"Lower prices and service optimizations have made it possible for financial institutions to go out there and provide the service at a very reasonable cost to small business people, who can get their money deposited more quickly and don't have to take time away from their businesses," he said.
The benefits of remote deposit capture are so clear that it no longer was really an option for North Island to offer it, according to Bob Reck, first vice president of business services.
"What we've found is that it's no longer something that's nice to have. It's a must have," Reck said. "Virtually every community bank around here has it now, and it really helps people who have to rely on couriers or are a little farther away from our branches."
Business checking itself has become an important part of North Island's business strategy, Reck added. "It now represents about 22% of our total checking, and we've only been offering it since 2000," he said. "And we've been a credit union since 1940. Just in these past several years there's been that much of an increase."
North Island began offering remote deposit capture to members late last year and has about 35 now using it, a mix of property managers, contractors, doctors, pharmacists and other small businesses, according to Jessica Rapaido-Ybarra, who works in cash management services at the 99,000-member credit union.
As one of their more prominent RDC scanner users, the Ronald McDonald House is quick to offer an endorsement, its chief executive said.
"I'd like to put in a plug for North Island Credit Union," said Bill Lennartz, president/CEO. "They're the ones that really educated us on the ability to use this, and it's become a very important tool for us."
"They're as fine as friends as we could ever have, and one way they have done their part in helping us is by keeping us up to date on the latest and greatest ways we can get our business done here," Lennartz said.
Rupple at Digital Check said small businesses, and the financial institutions that serve them, continue to be a major growth market for his company's products.
"In fact-doctor, heal thyself-our bank considers us a small business and we bought our own scanner back from them to use ourselves," he said with a laugh.
Speaking of healing, the folks at the Ronald McDonald House would like to work their scanner as hard as it can take while the new facility accommodates families of children on the mend themselves.
"Well, while it's helping us process more checks efficiently, we can certainly use more," said Lennartz. "We always have families who need our help."