Farmers & Merchants Bank of South Carolina
Assistant Vice President of Data Processing
Farmers & Merchants Bank of South Carolina is a community bank in the truest sense of the term. It was chartered in 1912 to serve the farmers in an agriculturally rich region, and it was one of three banks in Orangeburg county that remained solvent during the Great Depression. Now it has over 250 million in assets, with eight branches in a tri-county area.
Heath Prescott, the Assistant Vice President of Data Processing, has been with Farmers & Merchants for 13 years. Until about four years ago, the bank was using a customized app, built specifically for it by FIS—its core provider—to handle accounts payable.
“The overall support for the FIS app was basically programmed by one person, it became unreliable when we needed customization,” Prescott says. So Farmers & Merchants switched to BankTEL, which was FIS’s recommendation for a third-party vendor.
According to Prescott, his job became “tremendously easier.” With BankTEL, “everything was more streamlined, there was better reconcilement, better functionality and better security on the user-side of things. It was a major step up for us.” He estimates that employees are saving a few hours a week.
Prescott also noticed a difference during the first post-BankTEL audit. “Everything was right there. We were able to click and get what we needed.”
Farmers & Merchants has three primary BankTEL users who work within the Accounts Payable and Shareholder Management modules. “We were using spreadsheets for reconcilement, but with BankTEL, we can scan invoices and pull them up. It makes balancing the general ledger and several in-house items a lot easier,” Prescott says.
In January of 2018, the bank upgraded to Ascend Accounting Suite, which Prescott finds easier to navigate than the legacy system. The bank didn’t fully migrate away from paper documents until the upgrade.
“With BankTEL, everything was more streamlined, there was better reconcilement, better functionality and better security on the user-side of things. It was a major step up for us.”
The migration was easy and the learning curve was nearly non-existent.
He also appreciates BankTEL’s quick customer service—particularly after working with a relatively unsupported app for so long.
“We haven’t had to use customer service a lot, but every time we’ve had to, the turnaround was fast,”
“I like how we can scan documents and attach them right in ASCEND and have everything within the click of a mouse, to pull when you need it,”