Four years ago financial institutions across the country implemented opt-in strategies for their overdraft privilege programs as a result of Reg E. Many institutions treated Reg E implementation as a one-time event and, with each passing year, their focus on overdraft privilege communication has dwindled, letting accountholders and dollars slip through the cracks. Getting overdraft privilege programs back on track requires proper staff training and ongoing communication with accountholders.
Proper Staff Training
One of the most important elements of an effective, successful overdraft privilege program is proper training of frontline employees. Frontline staff are the ones who explain the benefits, procedures and requirements of your overdraft privilege program to your accountholders. Proper overdraft privilege training begins with management’s active commitment to a consumer-focused overdraft privilege program that delivers a service accountholders want and are willing to pay for. This commitment enables frontline employees to understand and convey the importance and value of opting-in to accountholders. Overdraft privilege training should not be a one-time occurrence, but rather an ongoing commitment to ensure that new and existing employees understand the benefits, value and practices of your overdraft privilege program so they can accurately and effectively explain the service to existing and potential accountholders.
Ongoing Accountholder Communication
Opportunity With Every New Accountholder
The opening of each new account is the ideal time for your frontline employees to clearly and fully explain the benefits and value of your overdraft privilege program. When prospective accountholders understand how your program operates and the value this service can provide in dealing with emergencies or unforeseen expenses, they can make informed decisions on managing their finances.
Identify Accountholders Who Will Benefit from Opting-In
Accountholders’ needs change as they go through life. Though some accountholders may have initially declined to opt-in to an overdraft privilege program, financial institutions should monitor these accounts and periodically communicate with these accountholders as they may benefit from overdraft privilege coverage due to changing circumstances. In addition, accountholders who initially declined the service may have forgotten about your overdraft privilege program or may not have understood how it benefits them. Periodic communication with these accountholders can ensure that they are fully informed and able to make educated decisions about managing their finances.
Community banks and credit unions can assure their accountholders are making the right financial choices regarding overdraft privilege coverage by focusing on proper staff training and ongoing communication with accountholders.
To find out more about ensuring your overdraft privilege program provides value to your accountholders and your financial institution, attend our FREE webinar, “Is Overdraft Privilege Worth Saving?” on Wednesday, September 24 at 12 p.m. CDT. Register here.