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September 2011

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Latest Step in BNC's Evolution Will Translate to Savings

A simple formatting change in the Judiciary’s electronic bankruptcy noticing program is expected to create substantial savings in noticing and postage costs.

As of August 1, 2011, bankruptcy notices delivered electronically to creditors began to be formatted using Extensible Markup Language or XML. XML provides a structured way to transmit documents over the web. How will that be a money saver?

For FY 2011, the BNC will have transmitted more than 160 million notices.

“XML is the part of the evolution of the bankruptcy noticing program. We’ve gone from paper to PDF. This is the next step. Using XML, data in the files is transmitted more efficiently computer-to-computer and without the need to read PDFs, or re-enter data. All the data elements are automatically pulled out from the notice for the computer to use,” said Gary McCaffrey, who oversees the bankruptcy noticing program at the Administrative Office (AO). “The result is that the end users can more easily integrate the data into their account management systems, processing the notice information more efficiently.”

All bankruptcy courts use the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC) for notice production and distribution services. For fiscal year 2011, the BNC will have transmitted more than 160 million notices. With such a large volume, every efficiency has the potential to translate into savings. If, as expected, the 50 largest noticing recipients adopt XML, they will have a higher number of notices sent electronically. The AO projects that this could save the Judiciary between $2 million and $3 million per year. 

Incentives to make continuous program improvements are built into the system. The contractor behind the Judiciary’s BNC program is recognized through an award fee plan if, based on objective criteria, they increase the program’s effectiveness and introduce money-saving innovations. To earn an award fee, the BNC contractor is evaluated on timely and correct retrieval, preparation and mailing of paper notices, the growth of the electronic bankruptcy noticing program through marketing efforts and technological improvements such as XML, the introduction of operational and economic efficiencies, and excellent customer service responsiveness. Award payments can only be earned to the extent that objective criteria are achieved. The award fee program allowed the Judiciary to award the contract at a significantly lower rate.

“XML and other program improvements are provided at no expense to the Judiciary,” said McCaffrey. “In turn, the improvements help us expand electronic bankruptcy noticing—eliminating the cost of printing and mailing a substantial number of paper notices, while delivering notices directly to the creditor’s, or its authorized agent’s, e-mail account.”