The difference between “opt in” and “opt out” is one short, simple word. But it’s more than that. In the case of one credit union, the difference will amount to more than a $125,000 annual reduction in operating expense.
“In” versus “Out”The difference between “opt in” and “opt out” is the difference between “in” and “out.” But, in the case of one credit union, it’s the difference between “changing member behavior” and simply “changing a policy.” For years, credit unions have been struggling with eStatement adoption and how to get members to opt in...one eStatement at a time. Recently, however, a growing number of credit unions have taken a new and different approach. Rather than ask members to make a change, the credit unions are making one – they are changing policy and making eStatements the default for all of their online banking members, both old and new. The question at the center of the debate over “in” or “out” is – Do online banking members need to “opt in” to eStatements or “opt out” of eStatements to stay with paper?
With high expense ratios and margins that are being squeezed, you owe it to your members and your bottom line to look into this issue. If 50 credit unions across the country have made the change, why not 500, or 1,000, or all of them?
Making eStatements the Default: Apple FCU’s Success Story
Such is the case at Apple Federal Credit Union, an $824 million credit union based in Fairfax, Va. Starting June 1, Apple FCU is making eStatements the default setting for all of its online banking users (old and new), tying the campaign to a recent computer system conversion.
With a membership consisting of many early adopters of technology, Apple FCU has prided itself on being on the leading edge of electronic services, first offering online banking in 1995 – long before the service became standard among most financial institutions. The credit union added eStatements at the end of 2001. Now, some 20,000 members actively use the credit union’s online banking program – Net-Branch.
“Our members have told us they trust us and like the fact that we are progressive,” said Cynthia McAree, Vice President of Marketing at Apple FCU. “They view Apple as innovative. And by adding eStatements to complement our other electronic services, they see that we’re committed to staying on the edge of current technology.”
According to McAree, Apple has faced few objections to its shift to default eStatements, with many online-banking users quick to adopt the service. Since February, the credit union has promoted default eStatements through messages to members included with paper statements, posted on the Website, and delivered via eLERTS and direct mail.
During the conversion process, Apple members were given the opportunity to “opt out” and continue receiving paper statements, but fewer than 1.5 percent have done so. And McAree says that once the move to default eStatements is complete, use of the program will grow from 12 percent to approximately 26 percent of Apple’s members, resulting in a significant savings in postage and operational expenses at the credit union.
“We’ve been fortunate. Our promotions for eStatements have been very successful,” said McAree. “Not only does Apple save about 70 cents a month per member through eStatements, but our members seem to really like them, as well as our other electronic services. It fits their lifestyles.”
An Issue Worth Considering
Today, perhaps more than ever before, the timing is right to seriously consider eStatements as the default option for your online banking members. Sure, there are steps that need to be followed; and you have to make sure you can handle requests to stay in paper. But credit unions such as Apple FCU took those steps, received positive responses from their members, found few members who “opted out” of eStatements to stay in paper, and can now look forward to significant annual savings.
You owe it to both your members and your bottom line to look at making eStatements the default at your credit union. Working with DigitalMailer, credit unions have overcome the concerns and issues raised by some attorneys or compliance officers. Setting eStatements as the default at your credit union ispossible – and could save you thousands of dollars each month. So, ask yourself – Is my credit union “in” or “out?”
DigitalMailer is a leader in eStatement adoption, and will save its clients over $1.5 million in statement costs this year alone. Our report, “Making eStatements the Default,” shares how to implement this strategy for your eStatements program. To receive a FREE copy, click on the report icon or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will process your request.
To subscribe to our eNewsletter that shares resources, industry trends, best practices and valuable lessons learned from credit unions and other financial service providers, click on the icon or visit: http://www.digitalmailer.com/newsletter.html
Ron Daly is President/CEO of DigitalMailer, Inc., a digital communication provider that helps clients gain a strategic business advantage through eStatements, e-LERTS, e-newsletters, email and other virtual tools on the Internet. You can email Ron at email@example.com if you want more information on any topic found in our newsletters or web site.