Many credit unions are turning to e-mail as the delivery channel of choice
for account-related notifications, alerts, and promotions. But if your e-mail
program takes lots of manual work to administer, the potential benefits can
quickly erode. US Airways Federal Credit Union (Moon Township, $612 million,
80,000 members) is avoiding that problem by using software that automates e-mail
management – driving down labor and material costs, while delivering the
convenience members expect. And with a fast payback of less than six months,
US Airways FCU has achieved a high ROI in the process.
A Better Way
“E-mail is a tremendous supplement to our Internet banking services, so
it’s factoring into our plans more and more,” says Lisa Fitz, Internet
Services Manager. In a survey, US Airways FCU’s mobile, tech-savvy membership
indicated a strong interest in receiving e-mail from the credit union.
But managing the effort proved labor-intensive and costly. Member e-mails were
managed in a separate Microsoft Outlook database that required manual maintenance
and forced large e-mail batches to go out overnight, to avoid taxing the mail
server. When some e-mails inevitably bounced back, staff members had to sort
through pages of reports to find them, then make several attempts to contact
members for valid addresses.
Eager to leverage the value of e-mail, US Airways FCU implemented an e-mail
services software solution from its core processor, USERS. The software automates
the management and delivery of member e-mail, eliminating time-consuming and
costly manual work.
Using the e-mail services solution, US Airways FCU has eliminated the separate
database and can now issue mass e-mailings any time of day, without impacting
system performance. More importantly, the software has eliminated the labor
needed to manage addresses. Because it’s fully integrated with USERS’
core system, the e-mail services solution flags a bad address and prompts the
core system to “ask” for a valid one at the next interaction. If
it’s an in-branch transaction, the system will prompt the staff to ask
for an e-mail; if the next transaction takes place via USERS’ PCU Internet
Banking, the system will prompt the member for a valid e-mail while logging
in. “It’s greatly reduced the manpower needed and taken the burden
off our Electronic Services staff,” says Fitz.
A Strong ROI
e-Mail Services has facilitated several successful e-mail promotions at US Airways
FCU – including a highly effective skip-a-payment offer. Select members
received an e-mail offering to skip their December 2003 loan payment, and 2,300
took advantage. The software helped in two ways: by eliminating the cost of
a printed piece and allowing members to respond online, cutting call volume
in half. “The response was phenomenal,” says Marketing Manager Lisa
Weber. Members appreciated the chance to skip a payment at the holidays, while
the credit union took in a fee of $10 for each loan payment skipped and earned
the additional interest that accrued on $800,000 in skipped payments.
Building on initiatives like these, US Airways FCU implemented the new e-Lerts
feature of e-Mail Services. Now, any member with an e-mail on file automatically
receives real-time e-mail notifications of PIN, address or password changes
– a fast, efficient way to confirm security-related activity. The software
also automates e-mail notification of statement availability for the 4,000+
members who’ve opted in for e-statements.
Starting in June, US Airways FCU will take advantage of the software’s
Personal e-Lerts feature. “Our members can ask to be notified when a particular
check clears or when their account balance drops below a certain level, for
example,” Fitz explains. The service should reduce call volume –
just one reason US Airways FCU will promote it using e-Mail Services. “The
Personal e-Lerts feature is just another reason why we want to encourage those
members to provide an e-mail address,” she says.
US Airways FCU will continue to roll out new e-mail uses with value for the
credit union and members. “We’re about to implement e-mail notifications
within USERS’ WebLoan online lending system, and we hope to adopt e-mail
delivery of NSF and overdraft notices,” Fitz says. “e-Mail Services
gives us many opportunities.”
For more information about USERS’ e-Mail Services or other technology
solutions for credit unions, visit www.users.com
or call 1-800-523-7282.