SAN ANTONIO, Texas (6/21/11)--The Electronic Check Clearing House Organization (ECCHO) has launched the National Check Payments Certification (NCPC) program to help financial institutions enhance their knowledge of check products and processing. The new program, announced at the Credit Union National Association’s America’s Credit Union Conference and Expo in San Antonio, is designed to help financial institutions enhance critical check knowledge essential for check products and processing. The Upper Midwest Automated Clearing House Association, Viewpointe and the Wisconsin Automated Clearinghouse Association are partnering with ECCHO to prepare training for an annual certification exam that ECCHO will administer. ECCHO is also enlisting other partners to maximize the availability of the program. Initial partners include EPCOR and The Bankers Bank. “Improvements in the check system have changed the characteristics and processing requirements of checks while greatly increasing the efficiency of the check payments system and enabling huge industry savings,” said David Walker, ECCHO president. “However, some of these changes have resulted in staffing reductions that dilute the industry’s collective expertise.” The resulting challenge, replacing traditional paper check knowledge with an understanding of the new electronic check environment, has created the need for a national program for check payments certification, Walker added. More than 96% of all checks are processed electronically, according to the “The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study,” released in December. The volume of checks processed in 2009 was more than $24 billion, with a value totaling $31 trillion. The NCPC certification exam will test the knowledge levels of individuals in four subject areas:
* Rules, laws and regulations; * Fraud and risk mitigation; * Check operations; and * Check products.
ECCHO and its partners are offering a pilot exam in November. The first publicly available certification exam will be held in spring 2012.