The National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) reorganized a decentralized collections system in which 215 stations nationwide used local depository accounts, together with coin and currency services, ordered their own banking supplies, sometimes used armored couriers to pick up deposits or sometimes let the station manager drive to a local branch with the deposit. The result was 145 separate accounts at 35 different banks, along with haphazard and usually overpriced use of banking services, bank supplies and couriers.

So treasury sent out a national RFP to banks and selected just two, Wells Fargo/Wachovia and J.P. Morgan. It did the same with courier services and picked one, Garda, then selected Transource/Harland Clarke as its sole provider of bank supplies. Now all 215 stations make their deposits at one of those banks, all but 19 get scheduled armored car pick-ups, and every station gets bank supplies from the chosen provider. Rather than being charged erratic retail rates, Amtrak pays consistent, negotiated wholesale rates for banking, courier services and supplies for a savings of more than $500,000 a year, reports Jeff Carnicelli, assistant treasurer and senior director of treasury operations. It also eliminated the frequent overdrafts or excess idle funds that resulted from the uncertainty as to how much cash was being held in local depository accounts.

For each station, treasury weighed the time value of money against the cost of a courier pick-up to set the most cost-effective schedule. Garda operates virtual vault services in conjunction with the two banks, so the funds are available to Amtrak on the same day as the pick-ups. The 19 stations that operate at night or are too remote to be reached by armored car either mail in their deposits to one of the banks' check processing centers or make branch night deposits locally, Carnicelli explains.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.