What is “Cold Storage” in Banking?


Cold storage in banking provides a snapshot of each day’s activity at a financial institution. Cold storage houses a variety of reports, statements, notices, and images generated by a bank’s core system as part of its nightly processing. Documents and information that are commonly held in cold storage include:

  • Trial balances
  • Daily non-posts
  • Return check items
  • New loan reports
  • New account reports
  • Closed reports
  • Pay-off reports
  • Non-accrual reports
  • Images of cashed checks
  • Images of deposits
  • Teller transactions
  • Checking statements
  • Loan statements
  • Employee logins to dormant accounts

Uses for Cold Storage in Banking

Typically, cold storage is tightly integrated with a financial institution’s core banking system. It offers an archival, searchable system of record and is used by bankers in various ways, such as:

  • Image retrieval for frontline operations: Tellers and other deposit staff members are able to find and view processed check images to answer customer inquiries.
  • Text matching and search: Bankers can use cold storage systems to find text within reports based on specific search criteria.
  • Offline server mode: If a financial institution’s system goes down and tellers cannot access the core, “cold storage” provides a trial balance (usually as of the previous night) to approximate a customer’s account balance.

Document Management Resources

For more information about banking and document management, be sure to check out our extensive resource library with free spreadsheets, whitepapers, and ebooks.

Browse our banking definitions page for more terminology.

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