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Dollar photo by Thinkstock; Camera photos by Oncam;  Security Management  illustration

Giving Security Credit

​With 47 branches, 570,000 members, and more than 220 ATM locations, VyStar Credit Union is the 19th largest credit union in the United States. As a growing business, the bank—headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida—must grapple with physical security concerns, as well as the ever-present threat of fraud, says James McDonald, CPP, security operations manager for VyStar. "Information is just as valuable, or more valuable, than anything someone can physically take from the branch," he notes.

Video is a critical component of financial fraud investigations. If a transaction is determined to be fraudulent, having video evidence that captures the face and actions of the perpetrator is paramount. To aid in this process, the credit union upgraded all its cameras from analog to IP but was still searching for a more robust video surveillance and storage solution as it expanded its footprint. McDonald was especially interested in 360-degree camera models but found the cost prohibitive.

 In addition, VyStar wanted cameras that could capture teller transactions from beginning to end and correlate the video with data from the transaction. This streamlines activity for the fraud department when investigating cases. "It's important for us to have something to match with the transaction; a camera that allows you to watch a perpetrator's movements from the time they get in to the time they get out," McDonald says.

The credit union ultimately chose a 360-degree camera model from OnCam Grandeye, the EVO-05, which integrates with a video management system (VMS) from Verint Systems Inc. Beginning in January 2017, VyStar installed the cameras at its present locations and migrated existing video to the new server. VyStar chose the Evolution 05 Mini model for indoors, which is less noticeable. On building exteriors, it installed the larger model, along with a sunshield and casing that protects the camera from the elements.

Existing branches are in the process of being converted to the new systems, and all newly constructed branches are built with the technologies. "Right now, we have converted almost half of our branches to Verint and OnCam," McDonald says. 

The cameras have motion detection capability to monitor threats after business hours. A motion detection alert is also sent through the VMS to operators in a monitoring location.

VyStar strategically placed the cameras where they can capture transactions at the various branch locations, as well as keep a close eye on ATM activity. "If we have someone that's just standing there from a distance, looking for a vulnerable target, we get an alert on that right through the VMS system," McDonald notes.

With the 360-degree cameras, McDonald says the bank gets more coverage than regular fixed cameras, which only have a 60-degree field of view. The bank replaced 200 existing cameras with just 52 OnCam devices.

"By placing an outdoor 360-degree camera on the corner of a building that has an ATM, you have one camera that covers all avenues of approach," he says. "We're also able to look out for our members when incidents happen in the parking lot away from the ATM."

The cameras and any incoming alerts are monitored from one of three VyStar campus locations via Verint's VMS, Vid-Center. Branch management has access to its local cameras as well. Using Evidence Center from Verint, the camera captures the entire customer-teller transaction, and integrates with VyStar's IT system to match it to the transaction data. "We map every single transaction that happens in VyStar, and it's tied directly to a camera," McDonald says.

Last year alone, VyStar captured more than 10 million transactions using the cameras and VMS. The fraud department recently told McDonald that its efficiency had improved by 80 percent since Verint and OnCam products were installed.

"We know we aren't going to prevent every instance of fraud; the criminals are always going to be thinking of new ways, and the biggest thing we can do is deny the perpetrator time," McDonald says. "Verint and Oncam allow us to deny them that time."

A map feature within Vid-Center allows the customer to add a blueprint of its locations and match cameras to their positions. The VMS can also integrate with access control systems to capture video as customers and employees come and go.

VyStar has a seven-day retention period for all raw video. McDonald says he keeps any video that was triggered by a motion sensor past those seven days and retains bank transactions video for more than a year.

The branch DVR recorders retain video at the local level, which makes handing footage over to law enforcement simple. In case of a network outage, no footage is lost, which McDonald says is crucial for the financial sector. While the VyStar system can manage all cameras from a single location and push updates and patches to the cameras, it can also allow branches to control their cameras individually. "In a large environment like an airport, it's perfectly feasible to pipe all your cameras back to a server and manage them from a single location," he notes. "When you're someone like us, spread out geographically, having that edge DVR that acts like a mini-server at each branch is a valuable tool."

VyStar plans to have its existing branches 100 percent converted to the OnCam and Verint technologies by the end of 2019.

"From an end user standpoint, when you have limited budget and limited resources, and you have one camera that can do the job of three," McDonald says, "it saves bandwidth, time, and maintenance, and it gives an overall picture of the scene that you just can't get with one conventional camera." 

For more information: David Wedel, [email protected], 612.325.6259, Matthew Hubbard, [email protected],, 443.722.9611