Established in 1930 by 12 local postal workers, Alamo Federal Credit Union was the first credit union established in San Antonio and the twelfth in the State of Texas. Today, as one of the fastest growing credit unions in San Antonio, Alamo FCU has $43 million in assets and serves more than 6,400 members
Committed to providing red carpet service and long-term stability
Known for its commitment to transforming its members’ lives, Alamo FCU has always been on the lookout for opportunities to maintain a level of service and financial stability that would keep it viable into the future. So when increased regulatory and economic conditions became a challenge within the financial services industry, Alamo’s management began looking for solutions that would help to maintain healthy revenue for the credit union and ensure that it was in line with consumer financial product regulations.
Compliance concerns lead to vendor change
According to Alamo’s CEO John F. Kirk, when he joined the credit union he was not comfortable with the overdraft procedures that were in place, due to Regulation E restrictions on overdraft fees for electronic transactions. He proposed changing vendors to incorporate a courtesy pay program that would not only increase revenue but would also improve member service and ensure that the credit union was in full regulatory compliance.
Besides providing full compliance and a source of revenue, the selection criteria for a new overdraft solution included comprehensive employee training, user-friendly software and dependable advice regarding on-going program management and regulatory updates. With these requirements in mind, Kirk knew exactly where he would go for advice. “Selecting JMFA as our overdraft provider was an easy decision based on how specifically they fit our selection criteria,” he said. “JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® is a program you can trust, the company representatives give great advice and they are always thoughtful with their recommendations.”
In addition to Kirk’s familiarity with JMFA and its professional representatives, he was aware that the company was a preferred provider for the Cornerstone Credit Union League. As a League supporter, he valued that recommendation.
Once the new courtesy pay program was implemented, Kirk also credits the Privilege Manager CRM® software with making management of the program much easier. “It has been extremely helpful to have quick access to the account data, operational reports and member communication materials provided by the program,” he said. “It has saved time and helped to avoid creating unnecessary work for staff.”
Employee training is a key component of successful program implementation
During the implementation process, Alamo employees received thorough on-site training from JMFA’s team on how the program works and how to explain its benefits and procedures to members. “Having a full understanding of the program’s features and processes makes it easier for our member-facing employees to explain JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® to members when they open their account. It also helps prepare staff to answer any questions that members might have along the way,” Kirk explained.
He also appreciated the fact that the training was face-to-face, not web-based. “It was more personal for the staff and they were more comfortable asking questions than they would have been through an online training program,” he continued.
According to Kirk, in addition to the initial training, the staff also values the compliance updates that they receive periodically and additional training that keeps them up-to-date on any regulatory changes.
He continued, “The member education materials and reminders also have been very beneficial to ensure that our members understand their overdraft limits and the importance of bringing their account positive, should they ever experience an overdraft. They really appreciate having the safety net the courtesy pay program provides.”
Highest levels of service and support lead to successful program results for credit union and members
After offering JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® for nearly two years, Kirk continues to be completely satisfied with the program’s results, as well as the on-going support Alamo FCU receives from JMFA. “Working with JMFA has been an enjoyable process,” he said. “We get on-going feedback on our program management and our relationship manager, Jan Southern, is always available to answer any questions we might have.”
This level of “above and beyond” service has earned Southern a place in Alamo Federal Credit Union’s elite Alamo Defenders Group of vendors. This designation was created in 2013 to show appreciation for those business partners that deliver the highest level of service to the credit union.
In addition to providing members with valuable peace of mind regarding their account, the courtesy pay program has provided a sustained revenue improvement of over $180,000. This has helped the credit union to continue to provide members with lower loan rates and higher interest rates on their deposits than it would otherwise have been able to offer. “I was delighted that our losses came down, our revenue came up and we have received no complaints,” Kirk said.
Passing along a recommendation
When asked what advice he might give another credit union that is looking for an overdraft provider, Kirk commented that given the increased focus on regulatory compliance and the challenges credit unions continue to face to maintain a strong bottom line and provide a member-friendly courtesy pay program, he would simply recommend that they sign up with JMFA.