New Zealand Banks Use NVR Technology To Improve Security

During the 18-month period that the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) was preparing to upgrade its video recording systems, senior executives responsible for security evaluated virtually every system available for sale in the country.

The original plan was to select three or four systems for in-branch trials, but members of the evaluation team were so impressed with the March Networks system that they decided to bypass the trials and fast-track deployment.

BNZ had been using the same tape-based analog recording system for 16 to 18 years, and “it was time to move to the next level,” said Security Operations Manager Karen Timpson.

One of New Zealand’s leading financial institutions, BNZ is a member of the National Australia Bank group, has assets of NZ $56.4 billion and operates 180 branches across the country.

The procurement team insisted on a networked DVR system that would allow security staff at the bank’s head office in Auckland to access video from any of the branches. The system also had to provide a minimum of 60 days of archived video storage and satisfy the stringent networking and security requirements of BNZ’s IT department.

March Networks’ 4000 C Series NVRs met all of the procurement team’s requirements and came strongly recommended by large U.S.-based financial institutions that had been using the company’s technology for several years.

BNZ security executives also liked March Networks’ software that allowed investigators to quickly and easily resolve incidents of fraud and present video evidence for follow-up by law enforcement agencies.

Using March Networks’ Enterprise Service Manager software, Timpson can configure and manage all recorders from her office in Auckland, and automatically receive alerts should the health of a component such as a camera or hard drive at one of the bank’s 180 sites start to deteriorate.

The conversion to digital technology provided BNZ with higher quality video and greater confidence that the evidence they need will always be captured. It also relieved branch staff of the responsibilities for changing and managing VCR tapes, and it sped up all incident investigations.

One March Networks NVR was all that was needed for an individual branch, including BNZ’s larger branches equipped with as many as 16 cameras. Using older analog systems, the bank required three VCRs for its larger branches.

“Otherwise, we wouldn’t get the frame rates we needed, and the last thing you want is someone walking into a branch and being in the camera view for such a short period of time that you don’t actually get them on tape,” Timpson said.

Cameras in bank branches record video at entrances and exits, teller stations, cash counting areas as well as any ATMs located at these branches.

The video recording systems provide the security department with evidence of the usual risks faced by financial institutions around the world, including the cashing of fraudulent checks, improper use of credit cards, and the use of skimming devices on ATMs.

“We have been able to identify some offenders causing damage to ATMs and we have used video evidence to resolve several assaults that were reported to us,” said Timpson. “We may have been able to capture the same evidence using our VCRs, but the digital recorders provide us with higher quality images and allow us to find the evidence much faster.”

Timpson and her colleagues in the bank’s fraud investigation group at head office have exclusive access to archived video.

“If management in the branches need to look at video to resolve an issue, they email me and I do it for them,” she said. “Having the ability to copy a video clip to a memory stick at the branch is great. It’s quick and easy, and it’s there for them to look at or send along to law enforcement authorities.

“The system is also used at the branches for resolving issues when there are questions or discrepancies between customer claims and transaction records.”

It didn’t take long for the March Networks NVRs to prove worth to the bank.

Very early in the transition to digital video technology, one of the bank’s internal fraud managers discovered evidence that “resulted in a significant saving to the bank,” Timpson said.

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