The delinquency rate is declining for credit unions (1.76% as of 4Q10), but collections are still a part of a cooperative’s operations. Situations in which loans don’t work out present a chance for credit unions to either enhance or erode member relationships, and the end result is all about tactics. Northwest Federal Credit Union ($2.05B, Herndon, VA) uses an e-mail initiative to alert members of a late payment. When members hit the five-days-late mark, Northwest sends an electronic “Did you forget us?” prompt. The message serves as a way to address the problem early and make sure that it doesn’t snowball. Incorporating e-mail communications into the collections process is a cost-effective way to reach members. The delivery channel offers the following benefits.
It’s easier to reach a member via e-mail than by phone.
The e-mails are a more courteous reminder a payment is late than a collections warning.
Credit unions can brand e-mail templates and don’t have to include the member’s personal financial information.
Northwest FCU has used the channel to the benefit of members and the bottom line.