Say Again? A Simple Word Saves Thousands?

Readers tell us that the small difference between “out” and “in” has become a hot topic over the past month. This difference will save two more credit unions thousands per year by changing one simple word.



Readers tell us that the small difference between “out” and “in” has become a hot topic over the past month. This difference will save two more credit unions thousands per year by changing one simple word.

Sequels are rarely better, but we had to do it! So, we’ll say it again and give more examples: The difference between “out” and “in” can save thousands of dollars per year. How? By making eStatements the automatic delivery method for your online banking members.

Think your members may not like it? Think again! Although it’s been surprising to some credit unions, most members now welcome the switch to eStatements – less clutter, faster access, time-saving convenience and greater protection from identity theft. The benefits to credit unions are worth repeating, too: Thousands of dollars! May’s article on Apple FCU growing from 9,400 eStatements to 27,800 in one month, and the annual savings of $125,000, caused quite a stir. (Click here to read Apple FCU’s story). Here are two more examples of credit unions “making eStatements the default.”

Members talk up the benefits

Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union, a Kokomo, Indiana-based credit union with 24,000 members and $147 million in assets, began offering online banking in January 2002, with 55 percent of its checking accountholders currently enrolled in the program. This summer, the credit union is launching an eStatement program – largely because members asked for it. The credit union plans to make it an opt-out process right from the start.

“Frankly, member demand is one of the major driving factors behind our decision to offer eStatements,” said Diana TenBrook, vice president of marketing at Solidarity Community FCU. “They have been telling us they want the convenience of picking up their statements online, and we take member feedback very seriously.”

In addition to creating greater member satisfaction, TenBrook estimates the credit union will save more than $31,000 annually. “It’s an ideal situation,” she said. “Any time you can combine giving members what they want with saving money, you know you’ve got a winner!”

To promote the new eStatement program, Solidarity Community FCU also is rolling out an e-LERT service as well. “We’re taking advantage of the large number of email addresses we have collected by sending out ‘teaser’ email alerts reminding members that eStatements are coming. So far, we’ve heard nothing but positive comments,” TenBrook said.

The credit union is using DigitalMailer’s “Stop the Paper” campaign materials to spread the word through its member service representatives, Web site, newsletters and on-hold messages. In addition, Solidarity Community will offer special incentives, such as free checking, and drawings for iPOD Nanos. Unless they opt out, all current online banking members will be automatically switched to eStatements late this summer, and entered in drawings to be held in August and September. Non-online banking members who sign up for eStatements also will have a chance to win an iPOD.  

Talk about savings!

Seven Seventeen Credit Union, based in Warren, Ohio, first launched eStatements at the end of 2001, offering opt-in enrollment. During the early years, the 80,000 member, $655 million credit union experienced respectable growth in the program, but usage really took off in January 2005; that’s when eStatements became the default for new online banking members. And this summer, the credit union is working to get all of its online banking members to use eStatements – anticipating an additional savings of approximately $10,000 a year.   

“At Seven Seventeen Credit Union, we often package our products, and it made sense to combine online banking and eStatements,” said Karen DeSalvo, vice president, marketing. “In addition, one of our strategic goals is to increase the use of eStatements. First, we worked with our attorney to provide the necessary disclosures. Once these are place, we’ll send opt-out notices to our members. And while we provide them the option to decline, very few have done so in the past.”

Once the eStatement disclosure and opt-out campaign is complete, the credit union expects 13 percent of its total membership base to participate in the eStatement program.

According to DeSalvo, Seven Seventeen Credit Union works hard to stay current with changing technology, and its members have traditionally been very receptive to such service and product enhancements.

“We’ve heard nothing but good things from our eStatement members – never received any complaints. And they get their statements on the first of the month, compared with others that receive mailed statements on the 10th of the month,” said DeSalvo.  “For us, providing e-services like eStatements offers many positives. We consider it a ‘sticky’ service that improves member retention, provides cost savings and keeps us on the cutting edge.”

What are you waiting for?

Consider using eStatements as the default option for your online banking members. Credit unions of all sizes are making the switch. Recently a $54 million credit union partner of DigitalMailer launched eStatements to its 4,000 members making eStatements the default for more than 1,000 online banking users. With more than 95 percent accepting the option, the credit union launched its new eStatement program with more than 25 percent of all members on board.

If you’re worried about being an early adopter of this approach, don’t be! Credit unions across the country are starting to see the opportunity, and are moving to capture it. DigitalMailer is working with more clients this summer to make eStatements the default option, and these credit unions are taking the necessary steps to disclose and promote the change, with positive responses from members.

You owe it to your members and your bottom line to look at making eStatements the default at your credit union. As credit unions across the country are discovering, one little word really can save you big dollars!

RequestDigitalMailer 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 and we will process your request.

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Ron Daly is President/CEO of DigitalMailer, Inc., a digital communication provider that helps clients gain a strategic business advantage through eStatements, e-LERTS, eNewsletters, email and other virtual tools on the Internet. You can email Ron at if you want more information on any topic found in our newsletters or Web site.



July 3, 2006


  • The facts speak for themselves. With online banking, I don't even care if I get an eStatement, but at least I have the option of looking at it, or ignoring it in favor of up to the moment status. The statement is my archive. My guess is that 13% adoption is a low estimate. Saying goodbye to a paper document is the ice cream sundae on a hot summer day.
  • While offering estatements is a great idea AND a cost savings....we are a postal CU and believe me....we would NEVER want to take this approach! We hear comments about our bill pay service (They like to tell us THEY send their bills back through the mail!) Ah C'est la vie!
    Dave Frey
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  • This article references the policy actions of many CUs across the country, all of whom have read and followed eSign''s requirements. The use of terms like "opt-in" and "opt-out" aren''t the issue. Complying with the rules is the issue. CUs can adn do comply fullying, while proactively engaging their members in eStatements. I have, on several occasions, fielded questions from CU and association compliance people who, after talking through the regulations, came to agree that there was a clear path to promoting change, and not just a need to wait for members to act. DigitalMailer is happy to explain the path to anyone who will step up and ask.
    Greg Crandell
  • Considering this violates Federal law by having members "opt-out," I would not recommend this article. See the ESIGN Act.