Core Image Processing: A Culture For The Future

Facilitating the needs of mobile members is integral to the future success of the credit union movement.


The rising emphasis on mobile in society is driving many credit unions to create or enhance a culture of core image processing. These next-generation capabilities can help address the demands of a shift towards social technology among your membership. Core image processing automates image acquisition, drives operational efficiency through image processing, and manages image content. Most leaders agree that consumers and the financial industry will not return to paper, so how can credit unions more effectively create a culture of core image processing today while also providing the framework for a strong tomorrow? To accomplish this feat, cooperatives must aim to strive, not just survive.

First, there are many ways to look at the business requirements for core image processing. An effective leadership team will focus on moving forward offensively. Creating core competency requires consistent efforts from executives, middle management, and rank and file team members all marching towards the same objective. This movement may sometimes require changes in thinking, a change in processor, or even an additional systems investment. 

The first step to creating this culture is to establish a vision for imaging as a core competency and an integral part of your organization. If your institution is not there yet, you aren’t alone, but it is critical to the long-term sustainability of every credit union to reach this point eventually. The social and mobile expectations of your members are racing ahead and having a vision for keeping pace with them is critical. Engaging in strategy sessions with peers as well as other industry and topic expert leaders who can help inspire you is an effective option, especially for those currently without — or looking to enhance — an imaging culture vision.

The second step is to have a leader who strives to establish functional activities that emanate these values and priorities to all of your stake holders, thus increasing the institution’s opportunity for success.  Involving rank and file team members in a dialogue that includes not only your vision but also the framework for outside contributions is an effective way to generate positive energy and enthusiasm while outlining the sound business reasoning for each stake holder. Tactical activities such as evaluating current paper documents for relative value or analyzing current processes for business reasoning are a couple of effective ways to draw out skeptics.

Start by asking the probing question of why:

  • “Why do we have this document and where does it live?”
  • “Why does this process occur the way it does and where are redundancies in processing?” 

At the end of this exercise, you will likely be surprised by how often you hear the response, “Because that is how we do it.” This answer is not good enough when it comes to building future sustainability.

Third, strive to engage consistently and persistently in culture development as a way to drive change in your business. Building a core image processing culture requires regular evaluation and investment of time and capital. A key to cultural adoption and growth is the baseline of a good business plan. Mapping out the next steps of your image culture development through the process of a business plan will produce an effective and energetic pathway to culture development. 

An effective business plan will not only outline what the vision is, but also the incremental steps to get there. Year one may simply be the recognition of needed change, with basic projects such as identifying all existing paper forms. It may not be until year two or three where activities such as process analytics or consulting engagements are used to bring greater objectivity to operational practices. 

Regardless of where a credit union is in this culture development process, the important factor is that these elements are a regular part of your business strategy rather than a mere tangent, passively surveyed every couple of years.

Fourth, achieving an imaging culture will require critical technology systems to automate image processing. An effective strategy will employ technology that:

  • Automates image acquisition in all types of processes and content, (i.e., teller receipts, checks, account documents, back-office and accounting, HR, and any other type of paper process)
  • Drives efficiency through image process automation and workflow
  • Effectively secures and manages the results of image processing — including the actual image content— for the lifecycle of the image
  • Manages security for content accessibility and processing
  • Mitigates risk through automated business processes and image retention guidelines
  • Builds a centralized, secure, mobile-accessible framework to deliver service to staff and members anytime

Linda Bodie of Element Federal Credit Union ($26.6M, Charleston, WV) is an example of a business leader with the vision and determination to succeed. 

“Our attitude is we're here for our members, and no matter what happens, we're going to build something that fits their needs. If you've got the people and the desire, you can make it happen, and we make it happen frequently,” said Bodie in a recent article on

Striving to create a culture of image processing is an exercise that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the credit union, increase the value of the cooperative business model for members, drive operational efficiencies, mitigate risks associated with image retention, and satisfy compliance in image processing. Core image processing is a culture for the future.

For more information on how to build a core image processing strategy for your credit union, contact eDOC today!

Bret Weekes is the president and CEO of eDOC Innovations. He can be reached at

Founded in 1992, eDOC Innovations is an industry leading core image processing CUSO, building technology to address the changing needs of credit unions and their members. With 20 years of experience, eDOC has emerged as an industry leader in providing image capture, automation, item processing, eDocument workflow and management solutions.



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April 1, 2013


  • This article is spot on! Core image processing is not just a back-office function any more. It has also gone way beyond electronic content management. It is necessary to survive in today's world to meet our members demands for convenience, our regulators requirements for compliance and risk management and to become more efficient and reduce expenses and increase income by re-thinking they way we perform our day to day operations. But the most important is estabishing a foundation that supports all of the above not only for core image processing but your overall strategic plan.
    Carol Middaugh