Check Imaging: Moving to Prime Time and Beyond
Celent Communications predicts that annual U.S. check imaging IT expenditures will increase from US$550 million in 2003 to US$1.9 billion by 2005.
A decade ago, check imaging seemed destined for a small place in check processing history. Today, it is marking a watershed by allowing banks to dramatically overhaul their operations. In a new report, entitled Check Imaging: Moving to Prime Time and Beyond, Celent discusses the forces that are ushering in mass adoption of check imaging, including declining check volumes, the near certainty of Check 21’s passage, improved price and performance of imaging hardware and software, and the rise of cooperative image exchange initiatives. These forces are providing banks with the ingredients to build robust business cases supporting adoption of check imaging.
According to Alenka Grealish, manager of the banking group at Celent, "With check volume dropping, unit processing costs are inching up. With no more efficiencies to eke out of the paper process, banks must move to an electronic one. Moreover, early-mover banks are differentiating themselves with check image-related products and services. Other banks must respond, or risk losing their profitable checking account franchise.
The report draws upon Celent’s experience and conversations with nearly 40 tenured check processing executives at mid-size and large banks, consortia, clearinghouses, the Federal Reserve, and solution providers. It profiles the adoption paths of five banks: Bank One, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, and Lloyds TSB, and Provident Bankshares.