It's hard to believe that the E-statement industry is already over 3 years old. In that short period of time, the concept has evolved from being a way to save time and money on statement delivery, to a powerful interactive marketing tool. Second generation E-statements are a powerful communication tool that can deliver value to your member by:
Saving the credit union money versus the US Mail;
Providing virtually instant statement information, and
Delivering targeted messages that fit specific members needs.
Today, credit unions have a number of technology options for providing eStatements. Many team up with an existing partner-their core processor, printed statement provider or Internet home banking vendor-to deliver the service. Some credit unions choose an independent provider and others choose to program the service in-house. Wescom CU and Patelco CU are too very large credit unions that decided to develop their own eStatement solutions. Although this approach may not be feasible for many credit unions, the way they implemented and now utilize the technology is instructive for all credit unions.
Wescom CU and Patelco CU: Large Credit Unions Go It Alone
Wescom CU was a very early adopter of progressive eStatement technology-so early that they had to develop the solution themselves because no outside supplier was offering all the features they needed.
Wescom's eStatement product extracts data from the print file generated for the mail house, and stores it in a SQL database. PDF files are generated on demand thus saving storage space on their servers in place of storing the full image. Because the ''statement'' is stored in a database, not as a fixed image, links can be embedded as each ''statement'' is transmitted. This allows the credit union to easily display check images or marketing promotions.
Another benefit of Wescom's approach is that they can preserve eStatement data for every member, whether they have signed up for the service or not. However, the eStatements are only available behind the home banking log in. Although non-E-branch users cannot view eStatements, the approach means that once a member enrolls in E-branch several years' of eStatements are immediately available to view-all the way back to May 2001.
For Patelco Credit Union in San Francisco, CA, the primary factors in developing an in-house solution was cost and functionality. In researching their options, they discovered that most vendors will display only a portion of the statements online -- for example, only those members that sign up for eStatements -- and charge for each one. Patelco's dual objective was to increase employee productivity by giving internal access to all members' eStatements as well as provide the service to members. Therefore, using an outside vendor to put all statements online would have been much too costly.
At Patelco CU, any member can access the online archive of eStatements in HTML format, whether they elect to stop paper statements or not. Those who elect to stop paper are considered ''eStatement users''-currently numbering around 17,000 members or 18% of Patelco's online banking users. According to John Shields, Patelco had no problems doing the design and subsequently provided the solution to other credit unions that also implemented a preferred in-house solution.
To read about 2 credit unions that took a different approach, one who partnered with their core data processor and one that partnered with an independent third party provider of eStatement solutions, pick up a copy of the 2003 Credit Union Technology Survey from the CreditUnions.com bookstore. Our coverage of eStatements also includes a look at the evolution of eStatement technology; provider market share information with complete listings of eStatement technology providers; and a detailed look at how to move beyond the simple act of providing a monthly statement to providing a complete solution to meet your members most pressing needs.