Repeat Performance? Things Canadian Banks Can Learn from the US Check 21 Experience

by Bob Meara, February 1, 2013
Operations/ Benchmarking
North America


Canadian financial institutions are preparing for a major payments system initiative: the electronification of checks. Canada can learn from a favorable US experience and do even better.

In the report Repeat Performance? Things Canadian Banks Can Learn from the US Check 21 Experience, Celent provides several guiding principles for Canadian banks to follow based on the US experience and examines the salient similarities and differences between the two systems. The genesis of this report was several meetings among large Canadian banks in December 2012 in which a common question was asked: “What can Canadian banks learn from the US check imaging experience?” Celent contends that Canadian banks can expect a faster transition to check imaging than the US experience would suggest.

“The US Check 21 experience is hugely relevant for Canadian banks,” says Bob Meara, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and author of the report. “However, a number of factors suggest that a mere repeat performance of the US experience would be a worst case scenario for Canadian banks.”

This report begins with a US/Canada comparison to illustrate relevant differences between the markets and environments, with resulting implications for Canada. The report then addresses key considerations that will define the scope of Canadian bank check imaging project plans: image exchange, branch capture, remote deposit capture (RDC), image ATMs, and finally, RDC risk management.

This 42-page report contains 19 figures and six tables.

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
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Europe (London)
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Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Obvious Differences


Check 21 and Image Exchange



The Role of IRDs/CRDs



Early Image Exchange: A House Divided



Reasons to Expect a Faster Transition in Canada



Key Takeaways


Branch Capture



The Case for Teller Capture



Key Takeaways


Remote Deposit Capture



Corporate Capture



Consumer and Small Business Capture



Risk Management



Key Takeaways


The ATM Channel



Key Takeaways


Conclusion: Chicken or the Egg?


Leveraging Celent’s Expertise



Support for Financial Institutions



Support for Vendors


Related Celent Research


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