CreditUnions.com Feature Article: The following is an excerpt from Callahan's 2002 Credit Union Internet Strategies Research Report. We are currently conducting a survey for all United States credit unions to find out how they are using the Internet to better serve their members. Click HERE to fill out the survey.
Wary of being perceived as ''spamming'' their members, most credit unions take an ''opt-in'' approach when collecting their members email addresses. ''Opt-in'' means the credit union asks a member if they would like to receive communications via e- mail from the credit union. Only then does the credit union collect and use their members' e-mail address.
One large credit union in Southern California decided to take the more proactive ''opt-out'' approach when collecting and utilizing members' e- mail addresses. When first registering for an Internet home banking account, members are required to provide an e-mail address to use the system. The member's e-mail address is then used for a monthly newsletter and periodic promotional e- mails. All members are given the opportunity to opt-out of either form of communication upon receiving any e-mail from the credit union.
The credit union's reasoning went like this: members are more likely to elect not to receive a newsletter if given the choice at the time that their e-mail address is requested. On the other hand, only a small portion will choose to unsubscribe once they are already on the mailing list. The credit union's approach has paid off. Their database of e-mail addresses has reached the thousands and they are careful to follow their unsubscribe (opt-out) rate over time. The percentage has held steady, below 1.5 percent, since the program was implemented over a year ago.
Although the credit union requires an e-mail address to register for home banking, they do not aggressively pursue those who provide a ''bad'' e-mail address to the credit union. About 10 percent of their members provide an address that is incorrect (either deliberately or inadvertently) at the time of sign-up. The credit union does, however, display the e-mail address on the member's home banking page each time they log-in and it links to a form allowing them to update it at any time. That way, if the mistake was inadvertent or the member changes their e-mail address, the members can easily update incorrect addresses any time.