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Industry changes create new opportunities

Rochester Business Journal
November 6, 2015

UniLink Inc. aims to be a problem-solver for its clients.

The Brighton-based company sells financial hardware products, including scanners and printers, that help address complicated financial regulations and the growing risks of fraud. It also places customer and repair services high on its priority list—an approach that includes what company officials describe as an industry-leading website.

The company, which was founded in 1988, grew in large part because of a federal law that allowed images of a check to be used as replacement for a physical check. This allowed financial institutions to capture images of checks electronically and send them to an operations center, eliminating the need for a courier to deliver bags of checks.

“Overall, this explains the original move away from the reader sorter check processor in the operation center to now a check scanner on the back counter of a branch to capture these check images,” said Louis Fuchs, the company’s president and CEO.

The legislation also allows customers to deposit checks from their place of business, which is known as remote deposit merchant capture.

“This is a big part of our business,” Fuchs said. “We have financial institutions that provide thousands of scanners to their customers. We are the vendor that they use to order this equipment through customized platforms we supply, and we also service the equipment for them.”

The company has benefited from other advancements as well, Fuchs said.

“The biggest growth factor is because of front counter teller capture, which replaces a check scanner on the back counter with the installation of a check scanner with a thermal receipt printer at the teller front counter area,” he said. “This reduces paper dramatically and allows the financial institution to balance at the time of the transaction.”

UniLink has taken advantage of a move toward photo scanners used to scan a driver’s license or identification card. These are used to reduce fraud as well as to import information automatically for new account openings or documents such as loan origination forms, Fuchs said.

“This process increases accuracy and reduces time,” Fuchs said. “Customer photos are also stored in the financial institution database alongside the customer information extracted from a photo ID.”

Maintenance is also an area of growth for UniLink, which employs 15 technicians who check scanners, receipt printers and currency counters.

“Customers mail in broken equipment which we repair, like new, and send back,” Fuchs said. “In most instances we have set our customers up with spares at their locations ahead of time.”

UniLink keeps a close relationship with its clients, which allows the company to stay on top of their needs, said Stephen Buschner, national sales manager.

“Our clients really value working with us because not only do we have a broad portfolio, which makes us basically a one-stop shop for all their needs, but we offer services online that they’re not getting from the competition,” he said. “What they like is the ability to go online at any time and not only place orders, but track their orders, get an order history, team up with us for repairs and track those repairs. Customers really value that.”

The company’s website, www.unilinkinc.com, is an important selling point, Fuchs noted.

“We have the most complete portfolio in the industry,” he said. “Clients use it as a research library when they’re looking at new products.”

The company has grown its client base steadily, adding around 100 clients each year to reach close to 2,000 financial institutions overall, Fuchs said. They now have 30 employees, and revenue has grown 10 to 15 percent each year for the last five years.

“Our future is bright,” Fuchs said. “As our customers need new technology to reduce their costs, increase profits, increase customer service and adhere to compliancy laws, UniLink will be at the forefront of the tabletop technology available to accomplish this.”

UniLink Inc.
Supplier of tabletop financial hardware, supplies and value-added services to financial institutions.
Year founded: 1988
2014 ranking: 70
Top executive: Louis Fuchs, president and CEO
Current employment: 30
Headquarters: Brighton
Website: unilinkinc.com

By the numbers
The company has increased its workforce each of the last three years.
2012: 25
2013: 28
2014: 30

11/6/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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