|In order to thrive in today's highly competitive
banking market, California's third-largest commercial bank, Union
Bank of California, constantly strives to better serve its customers
and to upgrade its internal operations by seeking ways to cut operational
costs while increasing efficiency. A major issue targeted by upper
management was to find improved methods to meet the bank's increasing
By law, financial institutions are required to save check information
for 7 years. Union Bank had previously been using microfilm, a tedious
and costly storage medium that requires intensive manual labor to
research and retrieve images. Therefore, the motivation behind the
bank's decision to implement a high-volume, high-performance check
imaging archive system resulted in the installation of a DISC optical
The new system now operating is based on CheckVision® software
from IA Corporation, which allows the bank to store millions of
check images per day electronically. These images will subsequently
be migrated to a variety of digital media for storage, dramatically
reducing the amount of time needed for retrieval.
Over a period of several months, Union Bank initially used this
digital solution to augment its existing online image retrieval
capabilities and launched plans to completely phase out the use
DISC Jukebox to Provide Quick Access to 130 Million Check Images
A core component of the new archive system is the 3 optical storage
libraries supplied by DISC which provide the second level in 3-tiered
storage system. Within the first 35 days, when most customer inquiries
are received, Union Bank will store check images on magnetic disk
(RAID), offering the quickest access to data.
After 35 days, the images and data will automatically migrate to
2.6 GB magneto optical (MO) disks written and read by Hewlett-Packard
double-density drives. 16 drives are housed in each DISC jukebox
and all can be accessed simultaneously. Each jukebox has 1,050 storage
slots to house the 5.25" media for a total of 2.7 TBs of random
access storage available - enough to save 130 million check images.
The response time of 3.5 to 20 seconds is markedly quicker than
magnetic tape solutions and light-years ahead of microfilm.
The final 3rd tier of storage used was magnetic tape. After 6 months,
images and data are migrated to tape for long-term storage in a
tape silo. Union Bank selected the storage design to obtain the
most expedient retrieval and cost-effective storage methods for
the fluctuating volumes of customer inquiries it receives on a regular
Bank Expedites Customer Service
Earler this year, Union Bank of California began offering customers
its Clear/Image check inquiry service, which uses check image
technology to allow customers to view cleared checks online for
30 days. Customers can zoom, rotate or reverse the images for better
viewing. No longer do they need to fax and telephone the bank to
request photocopies, instead they are able to obtain superior, and
instantaneous, images using their desktop computers.
With its new expanded check archive system, Union Bank has the
flexibility to quickly view all customers checks stored during the
7 year storage requirement, resulting in quicker research and improved
customer service. The new system also lays the groundwork for a
number of potential future service offerings, including image account
reconcilement (ARP) and image statements.
The bottom line for Union Bank of California is that by investing
in technology, it may not only further its commitment to improving
customer service, but that the new archive system will also save
time and money for both the bank and its customers.