Born out of the merger of five smaller societies, Progressive Building Society has become an integral part of the life of Northern Ireland since opening its doors in 1914.

“We no longer have the requirement to request copies of cheques from the bank. Without a doubt, the Transaction Journal application has saved our staff time and effort on numerous occasions.”
Neil Finlay
IT Support Analyst
Progressive Building Society

Progressive Building Society is one of the UK’s top 10 building societies, offering savings and mortgages to its members and customers in Northern Ireland.

As part of their normal service, many of Progressive’s members transact business using cheques – something which has caused Progressive technical problems in terms of storage and recovery. These particular problems were solved through the implementation of Solchar’s Transaction Journal system.

Before the installation of the Transaction Journal system, Progressive branch staff manually recorded the details of all cheques received at the branches. This was a timely and inefficient process of recording and storing the data, but did enable staff to provide the details of the cheques in the event of a request from a customer. If a copy of the cheque was requested, Progressive had to contact their bank to obtain a photocopy – a process that could take up to two weeks and often incurred a cost.

Search for a new, improved system

Neal Finlay, IT Support Analyst at Progressive, was charged with investigating a new system to allow the building society to streamline its cheque processing, and improve its ability to recall crucial information in a timely manner:

“We needed a more efficient method of recording the cheque details at our branches – one that would improve the efficiency of the cheque receipt process for our staff and provide swift and easy access to the cheque details to meet the needs of our members. It was also important for us to deal with requests from the statutory agencies in a sensitive and timely manner.”

An integrated solution from Solchar

Neal and the team initially looked into a back office cheque scanner system which would allow them to scan all cheques received at the end of the day as one complete batch.

Neal was invited to Solchar HQ to view the Transaction Journal application and was given an in-depth demonstration of how it worked. Crucially, the latest version of Transaction Journal records the cheque details together with a double-sided image of the cheque.

After a pilot scheme using Transaction Journal in one branch for approximately a month, feedback led to a slight adjustment in the system requirements with batch scanning being replaced by a scan process at the front counter – all integrated within Progressive’s frontline system. This meant that cheques did not have to be double handled.

“Solchar were able to quickly reconfigure Transaction Journal to meet our exact needs. Peter Axelson from Solchar travelled to Belfast and worked with me to set up the main transaction server, providing me with instructions on how to configure the rest of our branch network,” said Neal.

Transaction Journal now provides Progressive with the power to pass batches of cheques through an MICR image cheque scanner, followed by the cashier manually entering the cheque amount – a process which takes only a couple of seconds to carry out.

Solchar were able to quickly configure Transaction Journal to meet our exact needs.

Neil Finlay
IT Support Analyst
Progressive Building Society

Progressive discover the power of transaction journal

With Transaction Journal in place cheques are now scanned, indexed and stored in a matter of seconds, and all taking place while the customer is being served. The new system has added no additional time to Progressive’s cheque handling process, but Transaction Journal has resulted in a significant saving if cheque details are required.

“Following the successful trial roll-out in the pilot branch, our IT department rolled the system out to the rest of our branch network. In total, the whole project was completed in around four months and we’re delighted with the results,” said Neal.

“We no longer have the requirement to request copies of cheques from the bank as we hold our own image of the cheque for retrieving at a later date – available to view the day after processing in the branch.

“Without a doubt, the Transaction Journal application has saved our staff time and effort on numerous occasions.”

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