ROA dropping like a lead balloon ... margins shrinking like a violet ... postage rates climbing up and up (again!). Hundreds of credit unions have changed one Standard Operating Procedure and are saving thousands. And that SOP change is that ...
...more and more CEOs and senior executives are challenging their staff and legal counsel to stop telling them they can't make eStatements the default for online banking members and to start telling them how they can .
If you haven't made eStatements the default option for your online banking members, now might be a great time to ask "why not us"? Hold on, we are not suggesting a willy-nilly switch of members from paper to online statements. Instead, you can guide your online banking members to "opt out" of snail-mail statements en masse. With the right process in place - and an option for members who want to stay with paper - credit unions are finding that most online banking members welcome eStatements. They're also finding significant cost savings.
Profitability boost for one Florida Credit Union
Case in point: Central Florida Healthcare FCU. According to Annie Snyder, marketing director, the Orlando-based CU launched an opt-out program in 2007 with big expectations to save at least $25,000/year.
"Initially, I was a little concerned about the reaction we might receive from online banking members who thought they were having something taken away," said Snyder. "And other members of our management team were even more uneasy. But our concerns proved unfounded because our online banking members were very receptive."
To prepare for the campaign, Snyder consulted with the credit union's regulatory compliance adviser, who assured her that requiring members to opt out of eStatements was within the rules, as long as a member could choose paper statements if desired.
Next, Snyder announced the switch over to eStatements for Central Florida Healthcare FCU's online banking program, giving members time to absorb the message before making the change. The credit union also offered a simple, online option for members to select if they wished to continue receiving paper statements. DigitalMailer provided the tools and guidance to ensure a smooth transition for the credit union and its members.
The bottom-line results? Central Florida Healthcare FCU "opted in" approximately 4,000 online-banking members, with only 30 choosing to stay with paper statements - less than 1 percent! And in the first two months of 2008, the credit union added another 172 new online banking users, with only two opting for paper.
Snyder says the "opt-out" eStatement program has exceeded all expectations: Members have adapted well, management is delighted and the credit union is on its way to cutting thousands of dollars out of its operating expenses.
The always controversial "Opt-In" versus "Opt-out"
For some credit unions, the issue of "in" vs. "out" sparks a big debate: Must online banking members "opt in " to receive eStatements or "opt out " if they want to stay with paper? The difference between "opt in" and "opt out" is one little word. But for Central Florida Healthcare FCU, it could mean more than $50,000 annually in reduced operating expenses - double their expectations. Isn't it worth pressing the point?
For years, credit unions have struggled with getting members to "opt in" to eStatement adoption ... and it's been a long, slow process because they thought they had to change member behavior . But the truth is, they need only change a policy . Most members will gladly follow, whether they're new users or have been with you for years.
What are you waiting for?
In this time of high expense ratios and narrow margins, you owe it to your members and your credit union's bottom line to look at the "opt-out" effect. We've seen hundreds of credit unions across the country make eStatements the default for online banking members with overwhelming success. So, why not hundreds more? Why not your credit union?
As one of the largest eStatement providers to credit unions and a leader in eStatement adoption, DigitalMailer has the knowledge and tools to help your credit union put an "opt-out" strategy in place. We've been working with a number of credit unions this spring to make eStatements the default option, and they are taking the easy but necessary steps to disclose and promote the change - with positive responses from members. This year alone, we'll save credit unions almost $3 million in statement costs. Is it time for your credit union to ask, "why not us"?
To learn more and receive a FREE copy of our "Making eStatements the Default" report,
Click on the report icon, go to www.digitalmailer.com/offerings.html
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Ron Daly is President/CEO of DigitalMailer, Inc. a firm that combines its technology know-how and online communication tools to create an affordable way for clients to drive profitable growth. For more information, contact DigitalMailer at (866) 994-4900 or go to www.digitalmailer.com
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