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RANCOCAS, N.J. -With identity theft a top consumer concern, positively identifying members is a credit union priority whether it is at the teller window, online or in the safe deposit area. Recently Billings, Montana-based Avanta Federal Credit Union revamped its safe deposit operations in an effort to proactively promote greater security for its members while helping members save time. The $92 million credit union turned to integrated fraud detection and process improvement provider SQN Banking Systems for its SENTRY: Safe management software. “It has all of the features and reports that we wanted while still being very simple to use,” said Avanta FCU Assistant Vice President Bernie Neibauer. ” Our members appreciate that they can get in and out of their safe deposit box in just a few minutes, rather than having to wait while the financial service representative retrieves their box card.” According to SQN Banking Systems Product Development/ Technical Services Director Stan Jaslar, the Safe program was developed some six years ago based on feedback from clients looking to streamline their operations. “ It helps financial institutions run the safe deposit area more efficiently while increasing productivity, member service and security,” said Jaslar. “Thieves use a variety of methods to steal from financial institutions, so the need for a heightened level of security is even more important today.” Depending on the credit union’s needs, basically with a few keystrokes member representatives have access to a complete database of identifying information ranging from authorized user names and signatures, to photo IDs and payment status. In addition, the software can be used to generate reports regarding everything from invoices and payments to current and potential income by branch or overall. “It used to be that for members to gain entry to their safe deposit box they’d either sign a piece of paper or card with their original signature on one side and lines on the other. So the individual would sign in and the member representative would cover the original signature up to prevent copying but that never did work very well,” said Jaslar. “Now with this system, the user comes in, says `I want to get into box 123,’ and in just a few steps the individual owner’s picture pops up and anyone from the branch can verify their identity and allow them into their box.” Jaslar added that the digital documentation of each member visit adds another layer of security for both the credit union and member. It also helps simplify record retrieval. “Generally with the safe deposit area finding records from a few years ago would entail searching through boxes, so what better way to streamline the step than to be able to pull up a complete listing of each box’s history, which can be stored indefinitely,” said Jaslar. The system runs on a standard Windows PC operating system and costs are based on options selected. With a user-friendly focus, Jaslar says it is simple to install and about half of his clients opt to load the software themselves. “The set up of the box inventory is the biggest part, so if for example you have five branches and 5,000 boxes they all have to be entered but the software includes wizards that help make it easy,” said Jaslar. “But you can be up and running within a day or two.” As for Avanta FCU Neibauer says the automated system has helped members save more than 20 minutes per visit. [email protected]

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