With offices in Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, my law firm does a considerable amount of transactional work. Our six attorneys serve as title agents for several title insurers and work with a variety of lenders to execute thousands of real estate closings each year, both in the commercial and residential markets. As a result, our staff deposits millions of dollars in checks each day at local banks.
Remote Deposit has resulted in increased efficiency and safety for the associates of the law firm Schwartz, Orgler & Jordan. Left to right, Hancock Whitney Commercial Banker James Kaigler; Schwartz, Orgler & Jordan Managing Partner Robert Schwartz; Attorneys Jay Jordan, Jordan Matthews, Christian Strickland; and Hancock Whitney Treasury Specialist Heather Olivier.
A critical success factor at our 24-year-old firm is the ability to perform that check-depositing function quickly, efficiently and accurately. So when our Hancock Whitney banker suggested a way to improve that process — make our staff more efficient while enhancing client service — we were all in.
In the Biloxi office I manage, we started depositing checks into our Hancock Whitney accounts using the bank’s Remote Deposit service. That includes an average of about $20 million in real estate closing checks that we now deposit remotely each month into our trust account.
Old Ways Can Be Improved Upon
Before we adopted Remote Deposit, our associates in Biloxi filled out deposit tickets and physically transported checks to our local Hancock Whitney branch as many as eight to ten times a day. These frequent trips were necessary because after a closing is completed, parties to real estate transactions want their money, and we can't disburse it until we have good funds in the trust account.
The bank trips were time-consuming and took staff members away from other work. In addition, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, these trips created a safety concern.
From a client service perspective, we also had to deal with the bank branch closing at 4 p.m. local time (5 p.m. on Fridays). If a real estate closing didn't begin until late afternoon, closing-related checks often couldn't be deposited until the next day, meaning our clients and their realtors had to wait another day for their funds.
A More Efficient and Timely Process
Hancock Whitney Remote Deposit enables our associates to save time and stay safe. Today the same employees who were delivering checks to the bank branch now deposit checks using a check scanner and a computer. In addition, they have the flexibility to make a deposit from their mobile device.
To make a deposit, they enter deposit date into the computer and run the check or checks through a desktop scanner. The scanner captures the check images, performs a quality check, verifies the total deposit amount, repairs any scanned checks that need it, and submits the deposit, including the check images and data, as a secure file. We receive a detailed report file on the deposits online that matches up to our accounting and real estate systems.
Best of all, our associates never have to leave their desks.
Remote Deposit allows us to perform these duties better and more consistently. It’s saving us time and money, and allowing us to give better service to our clients. We’ve been completely satisfied.
As I think about it now, I only have one question about our decision to adopt Remote Deposit: Why didn’t we do it sooner?