OpenEye Helps Community Bank Fight Fraud Remotely
Wheatland Bank is a locally owned independent community bank, headquartered in downtown Spokane. In the 39 years since inception, Wheatland Bank has grown through organic and diversified expansion with 14 branches throughout eastern and central Washington serving over 15,000 customers. In September 2018, BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s premier bank rating firm, affirmed that Wheatland Bank had once again earned its highest (5-Star) rating for financial strength and stability. Earning and maintaining this top rating for 40+ consecutive quarters puts Wheatland Bank in an even higher bracket as an “Exceptional Performance Bank.” Wheatland Bank focuses on helping businesses and consumers succeed by offering personalized banking relationships and customized lending, banking and wealth management services.
Video surveillance is a must for a bank, but where surveillance cameras historically were used for general security and for evidence in the case of a robbery, banks expect more from their surveillance systems now. Surveillance cameras are used to verify teller transactions and to fight fraud in counterfeit checks. The American Bankers Association estimates that fraud against bank deposit accounts cost the industry $2.2 billion in losses in 2016 alone (2017 ABA Deposit Account Fraud Survey).
Wheatland Bank was an early adopter of digital video surveillance, replacing their old VCR and sequencing cameras with OpenEye DVRs installed by Allied Fire & Security and, not long after, upgrading to IP cameras at all of their branches. Sixteen to eighteen cameras monitor the interior and exterior of each branch and Wheatland selected a 3rd party 180-deg. camera to install at the teller counters that can capture the teller, the customer and the countertop in a single image. The bank recently upgraded their existing recorders to OpenEye Web Services compatible recorders to take advantage of the improved alerts and reports, easy remote access and centralized user management.
Using the secure credential management in OpenEye Web Services, Wheatland Bank is able to give branch managers access to the cameras at their branch, including mobile access, allowing them to provide after-hours verification of alarms or verify transactions when there is a discrepancy. Multiple branch access is made available to regional managers and loss prevention staff to manage policy compliance and investigations. The ability to handle investigations remotely almost eliminates the need for loss prevention staff to travel between branches and means that investigations are carried out more quickly and at lower cost. “Sharing video is easier than ever before,” said Kitt Zimmerman, Wheatland Bank CIO. “Since we disable USB on the computers at the branches for security reasons, it’s useful to be able to allow law enforcement remote access to video instead of downloading it to a thumb drive.” Local branch managers can save video clips to the cloud for review by security staff or to share with law enforcement allowing the bank to maintain its security policies as well as save time, money and protect the chain of custody when evidence is used in a criminal case.
To provide the best picture possible, Wheatland Bank configured their cameras to record at high-resolution settings. Nevertheless, some cameras are more important than others and they appreciate the ability to set minimum continuous retention on their most important cameras. Flexibility in the OWS software allows them to save video for longer on the most important cameras to aid them in investigating fraud and other important investigations. Alerts and reports in OpenEye Web Services allow the bank to eliminate time and manpower spent on manual reviews of each system to verify that all the cameras are operating and recording properly. Now, the appropriate staff members receive a notification in the event of video loss on a camera, allowing them to respond quickly and reducing the time that a system is offline. OWS reports are also used for audit purposes to show continuous recording and system health.
Cloud-based access to recorders installed at each branch allows Allied Fire & Security to provide ongoing services for the bank like setting up custom reports, providing remote troubleshooting support or searching and saving video clips after an incident.
Banks can’t afford to have any downtime when switching out hardware. While upgrading their existing video surveillance to OpenEye Web Services, Wheatland Bank found the new system easy to set up. “Before it would take a lot of coordination with Allied to make sure we were on site to prep a day or two before they could arrive,” Zimmerman said.