In a softening economy, consumers look to save money wherever possible.
Reducing monthly bank fees is a good start, which tends to bring new business
to the nation's non-profit credit unions. In addition to offering accounts free of
service charges, credit unions generally offer lower interest rates on credit cards
and home and auto loans. Wescom Credit Union in Pasadena, Calif. has
benefited from this new consumerism, experiencing steady growth in
membership in recent years. With more than 175,000 members and more than
$1.8 billion in assets, Wescom's increasing account base also translates into
much higher levels of account document management. To better handle the
paperwork associated with each account, Wescom recently replaced its original
document capture system with a Kofax solution that includes VirtualReScan
(VRS) and Ascent Capture technology. VRS provides Wescom a significant
improvement in data recognition which enabled the company to increase its
scanning capabilities from 20,000 images to 115,000 images per month, without
Implementing an imaging system has allowed Wescom to reduce costs and
improve member services. Credit union staff can now more quickly access
customer account information and immediately retrieve customer documents via
their PCs. They no longer have to make requests for documents and await their
arrival, enhancing customer service levels by enabling staff to address member
requests more rapidly.
When Wescom implemented its first document capture system in 1998, the
company required custom programming to accommodate each document type,
such as accounts payable invoices, certificates, consumer loan notes, credit
documents, human resources information, IRA documents, loan applications,
membership documents, tax forms, trust documents and customer ATM, credit
card and debit card transaction reports.
"The system could only process about 20,000 to 25,000 images per month and
operated with a seven percent error rate," said Gail Ozawa, manager of
Workflow Systems. "Staff had to manually audit each document released to the
system, which resulted in an exorbitant amount of extra work and a growing
backlog of documents to be scanned."
As a result, Wescom changed course and upgraded to a higher-performing
document capture solution which included Kofax VRS, a robust automated
document image-perfecting solution. VRS enables Wescom to achieve high
levels of accuracy in data captured from scanned documents by greatly reducing
the need for manual corrections of ICR and OCR results. With VRS, users can
load any combination of document types and sizes into the scanner and simply
press the scan button. VRS will automatically straighten, crop and optimize
exposure in real time.
Using Kofax VRS technology, Wescom now scans up to 115,000 images per
month and has achieved a variety of cost-saving and productivity benefits. Data
is captured more accurately while any indexing errors are detected and
corrected sooner. VRS has enabled Wescom to significantly increase scanning
volumes so that staff can not only process all current documents, but also prep
and scan backfiles. This increased productivity has resulted in an 80 percent
decrease in offsite storage requirements.
Wescom's document imaging system includes Kofax VRS running on two Bell
& Howell 8080 scanners featuring Kofax Adrenaline scanner controllers to
boost speed and overall performance. Wescom implemented Kofax VRS to
deskew and enhance images. VRS also instantly checks and adjusts Wescom
documents for alignment, brightness, contrast and image clarity. Any
inconsistencies are immediately corrected by VRS so that only the straightest,
most readable images are released into Wescom's system. VRS capabilities
enable Wescom to efficiently process documents with unique specifications and
characteristics. The system can effectively process non-standard 24-inch long,
double-sided loan forms as well as old and sometimes deteriorating documents
such as old signature cards and corporate records dating back to the 1940s and
1950s. VRS also successfully recognizes images printed on colored paper,
which was sometimes difficult for the older systems to process.
Kofax Ascent Capture technology enables Wescom to convert and store paper
documents in a central database, so that the credit union can manage and secure
critical documents electronically and access them via a corporate network.
Because the application automatically identifies forms and performs highly
accurate recognition of handwriting (ICR) and machine print (OCR), Wescom
can scan a variety of document types. Kofax Ascent software is paired with
FileNet's Panagon Image Services, a high-volume image and object storage
server solution for Web- and Windows-based applications.
According to Ozawa, Kofax software is very user friendly and Wescom's
workflow staff is able to quickly learn how to set up document classes and
customize indexing. Once staff members learned how to use the system, they
were able to teach others within the department.
"Wescom faced many challenges with its older capture system, including low
productivity and an overall lack of confidence in the system," said Greg Kaut of
DPS Technologies in Pasadena, Calif., the integrator selected to develop
Wescom's document capture solution. "Wescom had made a significant
investment in its document imaging system, however, it required too many steps
and involved custom programming when changes needed to be made. Using
VRS and Ascent Capture, DPS was able to meet Wescom's objectives by
reducing the number of steps involved in the process and improving data
accuracy by incorporating Ascent's database validation and lookup features.
The combination of VRS and Ascent Capture has enabled Wescom to
effectively address its growing volumes and backlog of documents."
Credit unions are giving banks a run for their money. As consumers leave
traditional banking institutions and take their business to credit unions, these
non-profit financial institutions are implementing new and more effective ways to
manage member services. For Wescom, document capture technology has been
instrumental in the credit union's ability to continue to successfully maintain its
67-year-old tradition of offering the most competitive financial and member
Kofax Image Products