By Craig ColganScan or snap a photo of a check, click done, and a bank deposit is finalized in moments. A big deal not too long ago. A capability that solves one problem but seems to be a lost opportunity in so many ways. All those checks. With all that data.
Nikhil Bijlani, VP for product development at Capital Bank, a $1.1 billion bank headquartered in Rockville, Md., saw new possibilities in that simple process of scanning paper checks, called remote deposit capture. Working with a vendor, Bijlani and his team created an award-winning upgrade to that simple application that has business clients pleased with not only the time they can save, but the wealth of new customer data they suddenly can now easily capture. And then mine to glean new insights about their donors or business customers.
If it is noted on the check, for the most part, Capital Bank’s new RDC system can now capture it directly. Specific names and numbers from checks and other items show up in their own data fields, that can be customized at set-up. Previously, collecting all this from individual checks would take multiple keying-in sessions and too many hours.
“What’s nice about all that is it’s all in a row and a column—query-able fields,” Bijlani says. “Our customers can now capture and record a richer set of data. And this removes the need to retain and sort through reams of paper.” The captured data is easily ingested into customer relationship management and accounts receivable systems.
The team built some intelligence into the system as well, so it would recognize checks from repeat customers, for instance, and distinguish those from new customers. This is useful especially to a sector that is a core business customer type for Capital Bank: nonprofit organizations. One of those Capital Bank nonprofit customers using the new RDC capability created a database that could be parsed between entities and individuals, allowing it to gain a better understanding of its primary donors. Businesses can also provide easy access to a portion of the collected data directly to auditors.
“This all came about after having plenty of meaningful conversations with customers,” Bijlani says. “I think that’s important to note. It didn’t happen in isolation. It’s truly understanding the customer’s needs.” The vendor on the project was Deluxe Treasury Management Solutions of St. Paul, Minn. The bank’s RDC initiative was recognized earlier this year with a Impact Innovation Award from the Aite Group.
Capital Bank’s focus on small and midsize businesses extends throughout the bank. “We recognize this is an underserved market, and continually work with customers both internally and externally—taking their cases directly to our underwriting team and to our vendors—to create meaningful products for their businesses,” Bijlani says. “These initiatives have allowed the bank to create longer-term and stickier customer relationships.” The team has plans to add modules to its RDC application related to risk assessment requirements, as well as connecting to the vendor’s wider suite of services.
“Innovation in product development isn’t exclusive to reinventing the wheel,” Bijlani points out. “We have taken what many in the industry believe to be a commoditized product and used innovation to deliver new value to new clients.”