Anyone know who US Check Airlines is? They’re flying Lear 35s from Rickenbacker Int’l to Holman in St. Paul. Looking at the flights, they were supposed to fly into Midway tonight numerous times but instead are headed directly to stops which would have followed Midway.
Telesis (or Telesis Transair) is another airline that specializes in transporting financial instruments. They operate their own small planes out of Dallas to about 15 other cities in TX/LA/OK. They publish a flight schedule on the www.telesisexpress.com site. Most of the flights operate between the hours of 2200 and 0400. Telesis also has a commercial division which packages shipments aboard scheduled airlines for delivery to more distant locations.
US Check changed it’s name to AirNet (ticker=ANS) awhile back to reflect their efforts to be more that just a check transportation company. (They’re now doing some passenger charters, medical stuff etc.) In the past year they moved their main hub from CMH to Rickenbacker in Columbus.
Unforunately for them, there’s not as much money in checks as there used to be. There are several reasons for this, but probably the biggest reason is the “Check 21” legislation that became effective about a year ago that enables banks to transmit images of checks rather than having to ship the physical checks. As a result, per public disclosures that you can find on Yahoo or the SEC type sites, AirNet has disclosed that they’ve lost some big contracts. Similarly, they had a big asset writedown awhile back. They put themselves up for sale, but one tentative deal has apparenly fallen through. Again, all public info per reports to the SEC.
One reason they use Midway is that the Federal Reserve moved its Chicago check shop out there awhile back, and has more recently consolidated its Milwaukee and Peoria check operations into that center. (The Fed has closed or announced plans to close about half of their approx 40 check shops.)
Wow, I had forgotten about this thread. Anyways, as you can see from the link, the Fed has centralized all paper check processing in Cleveland, which is really a huge change from over 40 processing centers stretching from SEA to BOS to MIA. Interest rates are of course at close to 0%, so even if there wasn’t the option of electronic clearing, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense (especially given fuel prices) to use Lear Jets to do nothing but ship checks. I suspect AirNet (previously US Check, and now privately held) saw this coming, and I hope that their strategy of shipping medical supplies etc. is working out well for them.
Yeah, the US still has a relatively inefficient payments mechanism. For example, do you know that when you pay a bill on-line via your bank’s web site, there’s a good chance that they’re still going to print and mail a check?
As for bank branches, they’re still receiving deposits consisting of checks. They can either invest in the time and equipment to scan them, or ship them to a central location for processing. If you have a location such as Mason City with several branches and a significant volume, it may make sense to transport rather than scan. There is also some paperwork that may need to be shipped.
Even though you might view it as electronic, there’s a pretty good chance that the CU (or, more likely, its data processor) electronically debits your account, and then cuts and mails a check. One of the reasons for this is that not all payees can accept electronic transmissions, and in any event it’s important to make sure that the recipient gets your name and account number, and paper is more foolproof than electronics (e.g. ACH). I’m associated with a couple of smaller utilities, and I assure you that for each billing cycle, they receive a pile of checks from on-line bill pay. In fact, it used to be that if an on-line billpayer had for example 1,000 payments to the same credit card comapny, they would send 1,000 checks, but I understand that this has since changed in some cases.
Funny you should mention Mason City after the post about Flight Express. Their flight 740 five days a week to Mason City from Des Moines via Ft. Dodge had me wondering in this day and age why they exist. But if a retailer is making the investment to fly a fleet of craft daily to each store location, I am guessing there must be a need in the financial industry as well.