By Mark Roe
National Sales Director
John M. Floyd & Associates
Now more than ever, ratings, likes and social recommendations play a major role in the process of selecting the products and services consumers use every day. When it relates to maintaining one’s financial well-being, reliability, transparency, fair pricing and pleasant service experiences are key must-haves for generating a thumbs up or multi-star assessment. So how do credit unions capture the consumer enthusiasm that generates initial interest from prospects and creates long-term member loyalty?
Following are five characteristics that can help to ensure your overdraft strategy will rank at the top of any list of essential services that support financial security.
1. Aligns with all members’ needs
Unexpected financial needs can happen to anyone. A fully disclosed overdraft program provides a reliable way for members to make sure important expenses will be covered — whether they are having difficulty making ends meet, make a mistake on their account or are hit with an unexpected financial situation.
A socially-responsible overdraft program is fully disclosed, easy to use, and provides counseling and practical information about alternative solutions that fit individual circumstances. These features increase the benefits of the program for members and provide compliance peace of mind for the institution.
2. Incorporates updated tools and resources
Greater focus is now being placed on high-tech solutions throughout the industry. An effective overdraft solution should be designed to solve consumer problems while helping institutions maintain efficient operations. Next generation overdraft strategies improve processes and provide measurably better performance results through:
- best-in-class software for increased program automation and efficiencies;
- more in-depth account tracking and analysis;
- up-to-date compliance proficiency and guarantee for compliance certainty;
- more continuous employee training and educational opportunities;
- on-going guidance and comprehensive consulting; and
- performance-based pricing.
3. Respects all members’ need to know
Wouldn’t it be great if you had the support you needed to make sure all of your members were familiar with your overdraft policies? A fully disclosed program prevents confusion that can lead to criticism, as well as increased scrutiny by regulators.
Utilizing an automated communications resource — with access to prepared, compliance-tested messages — can simplify the process of keeping members up to speed on their account status, program procedures and fees, as well as their responsibilities when using the program.
4. Strengthened by on-going employee training
Balancing a multitude of service responsibilities can make it difficult to focus on the details that are vital to consistently addressing member needs. But maintaining a command of regulations and best practices around overdraft services is critical, especially in an age of increased legal activity and class action risk.
Providing on-going, comprehensive employee training will ensure that everyone in the credit union understands the benefits an overdraft program provides to members, how the processes and procedures work, and how to explain the program effectively. If you rely on current staff members to train new employees — based on knowledge they acquired years ago, or information they received as their supervisor was heading out the door for another job — chances are something important may be overlooked. The more accurately and confidently your employees explain your overdraft solution, the less likely you are to have any negative situations with members or examiners.
5.) Guided by a team of experts
If you don’t have the luxury of expertise in technology and data analytics, compliance, employee training and performance improvement strategies, professional overdraft consultants can help. They will guide you through areas where opportunities exist for improving results. Then they will work alongside your staff to effectively address issues that are key to meeting consumer, regulatory and performance expectations. From there, they can provide recommendations on how to meet or exceed your goals.
Combining a proven strategy and reliable resources leads to exceptional results
As consumer expectations of speed and convenient financial services are combined with compliance requirements and operational challenges, it can be difficult to maintain the highest level of performance. An experienced overdraft service provider can help you align your program’s processes and resources, and recommend updates and service enhancements to help make sure everything is running smoothly — and compliantly. As a result, you can take command of your service and performance goals … and the five-star ratings, thumbs up and positive reviews will follow.