Anthony Ortiz Southwest Capital Bank Senior Accounting Officer
After relocating their headquarters from Las Vegas, New Mexico to Albuquerque in 2015, Southwest Capital Bank doubled its asset size in about three years. And that meant the mostly manual ledger and folders accounting system they were using needed a big update.
Southwest Capital is a family owned bank, which has been around in some form since 1890. Now they have six branches and 350-million in assets. Shortly after Anthony Ortiz came on as Senior Accounting Officer in 2015, the bank transferred its accounts payable process from a rudimentary check-printing software to BankTEL’s fully automated, invoice-tracking software.
“When an invoice came, it was basically getting paid with some discussion between managers or whatever branch may be responsible. It was a lot of verbal or email communication, and we needed a more standardized process for oversight,” says Ortiz. He wanted to be able to track check approval and payment electronically—to be able to quickly answer the questions, “When did we pay, how much did we pay, how much have we paid them this year?”
Switching to BankTEL also expedited Southwest Capital’s process of tracking independent contractor payments for the IRS. “It was easy to pull a report and find out who we didn’t have W9’s on. Without BankTEL, we would’ve had to go through paper documents, which would have been time-consuming and tedious…We were also able to electronically file data with the IRS through BankTEL. That was so much easier than sending in a bundle of paper.”
Southwest has about 27 users—its entire management team—using three BankTEL modules: Prepaid & Accruals, Fixed Assets and Accounts Payable.
Before BankTEL, an employee at Southwest Capital manually entered information and printed out each check, one by one.
“Now, once an invoice gets uploaded [scanned] into the Accounts Payable software and the necessary approvals are made, our accounts payable person does a check run, and anything that’s been approved pops up. Then she’s able to print all the checks in a single batch,” says Ortiz. “It used to take her all day to run her checks. Now it takes a few hours.”
When he says “all day,” he means all day several times a week—so running checks was taking almost all of this employee’s time. Now that she uses BankTEL Accounts Payable, she has time to handle reconciliations and other tasks.
Mostly Ortiz is grateful for the paper trail. “It helps us have a process in place that people are familiar with, that works. It helps with archiving. It helps with loan oversight.”
BankTEL’s Accounts Payable solution worked so well for Southwest’s regular AP bills, that Ortiz decided to “create a team of new users”— the loan assistants—and follow the same AP process they used for regular AP items. All expenses related to loan processing would now go through BankTel. This new approval process with loan expenses created a digital paper trail for appraisers, insurance payments, surplus payments etc.
Now Southwest Capital accountants are able to verify that fees are paid by customers before the bank cuts a check.
“I really think BankTEL changed our efficiency, our process and our flow…in terms of where it’s taking us and where we were, there’s a huge difference,”
Anthony Ortiz, Senior Accounting Officer
When Southwest switched CORE providers to Fiserv, BankTEL customer service was there to streamline the process and make sure everything interfaced properly. “They would return our calls the same day,” Ortiz says.
In March of 2018, Southwest Capital will have its first audit since Ortiz has been with the bank. He feels much more confident about the process now that they’re using BankTEL.
“The checks were for tiny amounts, but the concern was, as we continue to grow, the lack of oversight left potential holes for fraud. Now there’s someone watching every step of the process.”
Before BankTEL, Southwest was using a Prepaids & Accruals program Ortiz terms “ancient” that would “crash every time we tried to pull reports. So we couldn’t compare what our balance sheet said we had in terms of fixed assets to what were reporting to FDIC and our board.” Southwest “couldn’t make the numbers match consistently, and that was a huge problem.”
Now they have no problem pulling reports and matching numbers.
“BankTEL allowed us to create a process that is streamlined, so that we can balance our accounts to the penny. If there’s ever a question of, ‘did we pay that,’ we know, because we can go into BankTEL and pull it up, and say here’s the date, here’s the check, here’s who approved it.”