By Ron Jennings
JMFA Executive Vice President of National Sales & Alliances
As uncertainty continues around what “business as usual” will look like post pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have the resources and support necessary to provide effective and compliant services to help you meet your members’ ongoing financial needs. In Survival Tips, Part 2, JMFA offers the following advice on how to maintain complete compliance confidence while using the most effective management tools possible to get the best overdraft program results for your members and your credit union.
Create a stronger program foundation with reliable compliance resources
For more than a decade, regulators have kept overdraft programs on their radar to ensure that policies and procedures are clear and fair to consumers. It’s much easier to remain within the lines of compliance expectations and avoid the risk of civil litigation when you’re working with an overdraft provider that maintains an on-going awareness of what’s happening in the regulatory landscape.
By sticking with a responsible overdraft approach — that closely adheres to regulatory guidelines and best practices — you can rest assured that you are providing a worry-free solution for your members and staying in lockstep with regulatory and consumer protection expectations. What’s more, support from compliance experts provides your internal staff with resources that complement their skills and free them up to focus on the growing number of regulatory issues that come across their desks on a regular basis.
After reaching out to several overdraft program providers, one Midwestern credit union chose a partner with more structured policies and procedures than other vendors under consideration. Ultimately, it was a 100% compliance guarantee that sealed the deal in a changing regulatory environment.
For an East Coast credit union, ongoing, reliable compliance advice has made maintaining a compliant overdraft program altogether worry free. Examiners are familiar with the guidance the institution receives and see the consistency in how the program operates. What’s more, the program’s benefits for both the institution and its members have become assets for the credit union when discussing potential mergers and acquisition opportunities.
Keeping members better informed was a concern for a $1.9 billion credit union before implementing a program that included comprehensive communications resources. According to the CEO, “Consistent, easy-to-understand communication is an essential element of the institution’s outreach program.” Customizable materials that are vetted from a legal and best practices standpoint have made the communications process turnkey for staff members, saved the institution time and provided complete regulatory peace of mind.
For these credit unions, as well as many other financial institutions across the U.S., an overdraft program with processes and procedures that are consistently based on best practices continues to be a valuable financial service.
How confident are you about your overdraft program’s compliance? Do you have the resources to routinely audit how your program is communicated to members? Are your program procedures in line with all applicable laws and regulations? Are employee training and marketing materials accurate and subject to a compliance review? Are you ready for your next exam?
Optimize results with reliable technology and data
Artificial intelligence and big data play a pivotal role in understanding consumer behavior. However, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest analytic innovations on your own. A next generation overdraft solution provides easily accessible, measurable data in consolidated reports that help you keep track of ever-increasing analytic components, including account activity, program usage, waivers and refunds, and other ratios that are important to successful program management.
For example, access to more comprehensive program data enabled a credit union in the upper Midwest to clean up old baseline information and remove non-performing accounts — giving staff a more complete picture of what the program was accomplishing. Upgrading to Cloud technology provided assurance that the institution’s data was more secure and removed any worry about having to license software or keep track of updates. It also allowed everyone in the credit union to work from the same software version and provided regular back up of important data.
Combining such technology and personal interaction with industry experts who are focused on providing a consumer-friendly solution is what differentiates a fully disclosed, user-friendly overdraft program from “plug and play” alternatives. In the words of one satisfied CEO, regular in-person program audits, monthly program reviews and ongoing consulting “keep us on our toes” when it comes to managing the program successfully and achieving its desired results.
Does your overdraft strategy include the right combination of technology and consulting resources to achieve optimal operational, performance and service results?
Build on performance success with confidence
The potential for complete compliance confidence and more effective program management can be amplified substantially when you partner with a proven expert that provides extensive industry experience and a commitment to ongoing support. When you implement a program that can be customized to meet your credit union’s unique situation, the improvements will mean much more for your members, your employees and your institution.
Read Part 1 of our Survival Tips.