Coast Capital Savings automates business deposits

For B.C. small businesses, the days of using up precious business hours waiting to deposit their takings in person with a teller are over, if they are customers of Coast Capital Savings.

Until now, business customers that wanted to make a deposit were required to either go to the locked night depository at their own branch, or wait in line during banking hours, according to Nancy McNeill, Coast Capital’s senior vice-president for administration.

The standard ATM deposit slot cannot take coins. As well, a customer’s key would fit only the depository at the one branch, McNeill said.

“Now they can use any one of those drop boxes at any one of the machines, because you open it with your member card,” McNeill said in an interview.

Coast Capital is the first Canadian credit union to combine Dayton, Ohio-based NCR’s Personas M Series 86 automatic teller machine (ATM) with the NCR 5285 business depository. The machines are built in Waterloo, Ont.

A further advantage of the new system is that businesses no longer face a delay in having their deposits credited, McNeill said. Under the old system, customers would have to wait till their deposits were counted on the next business day before gaining access to it.

“Now they have instant credit to their account and they have the ability to get their money instantly,” McNeill said.

To date, 10 Coast Capital branches have the new system in place. All 46 branches will have the new machines by September 2006, she said, at a total cost of about $2 million.

The secure deposit-only access cards issued customers means that business account holders can safely let others makes deposits for them. The cards do not permit withdrawals or access to account information.

Coast Capital expects the new system to be highly popular.

“We have roughly 4,000 customers that use the old night deposits,” McNeill said. “Plus there are a lot of businesses that go into the branch during the course of the day, because they want that instant credit.”

Many of those businesses would likely much prefer to use a secure depository system, as long as it provides immediate access to funds, she said.

Among the questions that Coast Capital asked before settling on the NCR system was whether the ATMs could be put on to a network, McNeill said.

The build quality was another factor, since up-time is an essential element of first-rate ATM service, she added.

 “They are very well built, and they have good cash dispensing,” she said. “NCR’s an incredibly robust machine.”

NCR Canada’s vice-president for financial solutions, Nick Hames, said the combination of the company’s series 86 ATM with the 5285 business depository makes the system “uniquely placed” in the market. The system is aimed at a specific market niche, he said.

“It makes a combination that appeals to the small business user, and addresses that market niche, which we see as growing,” Hames said.

Research and development for the system is done in Dundee, Scotland, he added. It is designed for use in both inside and outside locations. The system is also used in some U.S. financial institutions, Hames said. However, Coast Capital is the first Canadian institution to use it in an online environment.

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s second-largest credit union, boasting 300,000 members and 46 branches in the Lowe Mainland, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

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