DVR, VMS Systems Help Keep Union Bank S.A.F.E.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., Union Bank N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies and major corporations. The story of Union Bank goes back more than 145 years to the founding of The Bank of California, the first incorporated commercial bank in the West, and a predecessor of Union Bank. Today, the financial institution honors that history with a commitment to superior service for customers, employees, shareholders and the community.

Union Bank has 10,000-plus employees servicing more than 337 branch offices in California, Washington, Texas and Oregon; two international offices; and facilities in six other states. Union Bank is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the world’s largest financial organizations.

In December 2008, Union Bank embarked on a key initiative designed to advance the financial institution’s focus on and processes around deterring threats and robberies in its retail bank branch locations. In conjunction, Project S.A.F.E (Safe and Friendly Environment) was enacted by the company’s CEO to help ensure the safety and welfare of Union Bank customers, employees, and the community at large — adding enhanced layers of security.

Project S.A.F.E comprises four key areas:
• Implementation of digital video recording (DVR) technology to replace existing legacy VCR systems;
• Installation of controlled access units that use a metal detector as a precursor to entry in bank branches;
• Installation of bullet-resistant plexi-glass between tellers and customers; and
• Other robbery reduction initiatives.

The Solution

In order to help meet the bank’s Project S.A.F.E requirements and stringent timeline, Verint Video Intelligence Solutions, along with integrator New Age Security Systems, installed Verint’s solutions and completed training across all sites outlined by Union Bank in just nine months. The bank’s legacy VCR systems were replaced with more than 450 Verint Nextiva NetDVR II and Nextiva MicroDVR II embedded DVRs, along with the supplier’s Nextiva Op-Center and Nextiva Vid-Center software. This migration introduced the ability for the financial services organization to monitor video centrally with greater reliability and security.
“Our digital video project was a key priority among our banking executives and from a corporate security standpoint,” says Union Bank Vice President and Director of Corporate Security Mike Maloof, who helped spearhead the initiative. “As such, we were able to outfit our entire retail banking footprint with new DVRs in record time.”

The DVRs deliver robust surveillance and data capture capabilities to Union Bank’s entire network of ATM and teller operations. Together with the Nextiva Op-Center and Vid-Center remote video connection and viewing software, Union Bank now enjoys a complete networked video solution, further supporting its security objectives.

“The DVR platform allows us to quickly and effectively export tamper-proof digital video evidence to law enforcement agencies,” Maloof says. “It also enables us to collaborate and network with other Union Bank departments, peers, local law enforcement, and the FBI on robbery occurrences and fraud trends.”
With the intelligent DVR platform, Union Bank is able to capture high-quality video images from the embedded operating system, optimize bandwidth and storage use, leverage flexible video search capabilities and benefit from programmable video retention and storage. As a result, the financial institution is achieving lower total cost of ownership and operation, along with superior security and reliability.

Since the advent of Project S.A.F.E., Union Bank has experienced a dramatic reduction of robberies and robbery losses. The bank has received positive feedback from both the FBI and local law enforcement for its results. “Our robberies in the states where we bank and among our peer institutions have reduced dramatically,” Maloof says. “While other financial institutions have remained relatively stagnant in terms of reducing robbery incidents, our numbers have decreased tremendously.”

The video platform proved its value when bank security personnel were able to take advantage of the photo resolution capability from the viewing software — a unified enterprise NVR interface — to determine key information instantaneously. Armed with this information, law enforcement was able to quickly use the details provided by the software. “If it wasn’t for the DVRs and software, we wouldn’t be able to immediately hand detailed information to law enforcement,” Maloof says. “Our previous VCR recording system required a security manager to actually go to the facility, pull the tape and make a copy for law enforcement — losing valuable time in the process.”

Security personnel at Union Bank are now able to scan and detect the most pertinent or potentially threatening activities in their branches and ATM centers while viewing multiple scenes in a single location or any number of branches. “The ability to view scenes from numerous banking centers at the same time and on the same screen has proved to be extremely valuable to our organization,” Maloof says. “We can easily and quickly make a copy of an image, zoom in, and adjust the contrast and coloring of that image — all without altering the court-admissible format.”