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First Service Credit Union

Based in Houston, Texas, First Service Credit Union is a dynamic and growing credit union that serves over 47,000 members. The credit union was looking to find a stable independent partner to assist them with their check processing needs. After much research, their chosen provider was CheckAlt – one of the country’s premier providers of automated and electronic check transaction processing.

Mike McWethy, Senior Vice President of Retail Sales & Branch Operations at First Service Credit Union, was tasked with finding a viable check processing alternative to their financially troubled corporate credit union. McWethy recalls that "we started from scratch with the CheckAlt representative. We sat down and went over our specific needs and check processing requirements in detail. As a board member of a credit union, the CheckAlt representative really understood how credit unions work and we appreciated that."

Since the credit union was already doing check capture at the branch, it was a fairly easy transition to CheckAlt’s system. However, McWethy points out that "CheckAlt’s system is not only easy to use, but had many more features than our old system." After a quick conversion, First Service was sending checks directly to the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. According to McWethy, "most credit unions think that it is difficult to work directly with the Fed, but actually it was very straightforward. It helped that some of CheckAlt’s staff used to work at the Fed, and that all of them are very knowledgeable about check processing and electronic payments."

Every credit union is looking to save money during this ongoing recession – and all other times for that matter – and First Service was thrilled to cut out the corporate credit union middleman and enjoy excellent price reductions. In fact, McWethy characterizes the pricing as "incredibly low!" Not only did the credit union realize great savings on their per item charges, but CheckAlt’s initial programming and setup fees are also quite low. McWethy asserts that "CheckAlt’s setup costs are very affordable, and you gain access to a team of credit union-savvy people who are experienced and very responsive."

After the branch capture system quickly went live, First Service turned to the somewhat trickier task of handling in-clearing checks back from the Federal Reserve. McWethy was pleased to find that this process also went smoothly: "CheckAlt was there every step of the way to help us – they are the kind of people who take ownership of an issue and see it all the way through to completion." At this point the credit union chose to bring check imaging for their online banking members in-house, which was another move that reduced expenses. Under their previous system, the credit union had to pay a fee to their corporate every time a member viewed one of their cleared checks.

There are other benefits to the credit union in working with CheckAlt’s powerful Remote Deposit Capture and electronic payments platform which includes faster access to funds. By cutting out the "middle man corporate" and using CheckAlt’s various forms of check verification and risk management procedures, there is a reduction in check loss exposure. Plus the CheckAlt team of programmers can quickly customize their software to each credit union’s particular needs. McWethy states that "their developers are knowledgeable and flexible. I deal with lots of vendors, and I would put CheckAlt at the top my list for attentiveness and superior customer service." He concludes that "working with CheckAlt is refreshing because everything they tell you is true, and they have a ‘do what it takes to get the job done on time’ attitude."