Commonwealth Bank introduces major upgrade of cheque processing technology

1 March 2001

The Commonwealth Bank has installed Australia's most advanced computerised cheque imaging system.

The Commonwealth Bank is the largest cheque processor in Australia, currently processing 450 million cheques annually. Before the introduction of imaging technology, cheques were processed through a combination of manual sorting and data entry, a labour intensive and time consuming process.

The new NCR ImageMark system, which utilises NCR 7780 cheque processors, was implemented on 16 February. The revolutionary new system stores digital images in an archive for instant retrieval via a browser, allowing images of presented cheques to be viewed remotely. The Commonwealth Bank is the first major Australian bank to implement a centralised national archive of cheque images.

Senior Executive of Operations Centres for the Commonwealth Bank, Graeme Towers said today "Introduction of the new system follows six years of extensive research and development into automated cheque and voucher processing by the Bank.

"The new technology has enabled the Bank's operations to move from a factory environment to an office environment. Previously all cheque value data had to be manually entered and cheques physically handled. Now most of the data is automatically collected, and the rest is entered by staff keying from images on a PC.

"Overall benefits include quicker access to transaction information, less complex account reconciliation, simplified processing and the ability to deliver improved customer support.

"Introduction of the new system is part of the Bank's ongoing commitment to utilising the latest technology to ensure our customers receive the best possible service."

EDS Australia, teaming with NCR, is supplying the new technology platform.

"As the Commonwealth Bank Group's technology partner, EDS Australia is responsible for managing the information technology aspects of the program to replace all our current cheque processing equipment with the latest technology," said Dr Towers.

Technical experts and project staff from NCR worked with EDS to develop this solution.

EDS has already implemented an NCR ImageMark system in the financial services sector in New Zealand.

The Commonwealth Bank Group's ImageMark image item processing program is the largest implementation in the Asia Pacific region.

Peter Frielick, NCR Vice President, South Pacific Area, said "NCR welcomed the opportunity to provide the Commonwealth Bank with the technology to overhaul outdated and time consuming cheque processing procedures.

"NCR's ImageMark cheque imaging technology is unequalled in the world and has paved the way for bank's to simplify and speed up one of the most important areas of banking."