Bank of the Pacific is headquartered in Aberdeen, Washington, with regional offices in Bellingham and Long Beach. The $664 million institution operates 17 branch locations and five loan centers throughout Western Washington and Northwest Oregon.
Compliance concerns weigh heavily in selection of overdraft program provider
When bank management made the decision to upgrade the existing overdraft program in 2010, they were concerned about new regulatory requirements being implemented on consumer financial products. So as they completed the process of selecting a new program provider, they were aware of the importance of finding a company that would help them maintain compliance with all new and existing regulations. At the end of the selection process, the decision was made to implement JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®, due in large part to JMFA’s 100 percent compliance guarantee.
Thorough staff training gets program off to a great start
In anticipation of implementing a new overdraft program, Ginger Holcomb, overdraft privilege administrator, began working on employee training to explain the new program to all customer-facing staff. “Before I got very far, our relationship manager Steve Frazier explained to me that JMFA provides employee training to get everyone up-to-speed on the program,” Holcomb said. “It was great!”
According to Holcomb, after the staff had received the training and started implementing JMFA’s recommendations, the number of customer opt ins for overdraft coverage on electronic transactions increased. “During the training, Steve provided our staff with real-life scenarios of how having access to overdraft coverage can make a difference for anyone who might need money in an emergency,” Holcomb said. “This helped us to explain the benefits in a way that made sense to our customers.”
Support materials help to keep customers informed
In addition to centralizing the process of determining how overdrafts are covered, the communications materials provided by JMFA have helped Holcomb and her staff provide customers with timely updates regarding their account status. “The process allows us to easily generate letters that are sent to customers when they experience an overdraft,” she explained.
Plus, the system allows the administrative department to track customer follow-up activities. “If a customer tells me he or she didn’t receive a follow-up letter, I can check the system to make sure we have the correct address and update the records, if necessary,” Holcomb continued. “Timely communications with our customers are important to us and JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® helps us make sure they get all of the information they need to maintain their accounts.”
Bank regulators and customers applaud the program
In a time when the banking industry isn’t always seen in the most favorable light, Bank of the Pacific is earning praise from regulators and customers when it comes to providing a user-friendly, compliant overdraft program. “Thanks to the on-going communication we receive from JMFA regarding any regulatory changes that might be implemented, we are able to stay on top of compliance issues,” Holcomb explained. “When our auditors review our overdraft program, they always give us great reviews. They love JMFA’s program, which of course makes us very happy!”
Another aspect that is just as important to the bank is how it benefits customers. Holcomb points to a letter hanging on her office wall to highlight that point. “In 2012, a customer who had only used the overdraft service once since we implemented JMFA’s program was faced with a family emergency and needed to travel quickly to an out-of-town hospital,” she explained. “This occurred on a weekend and he didn’t have enough cash for the trip. So he made a withdrawal at an ATM and was able to get the money he needed to be there for his family members.” In the letter, the customer explains that had he not opted in to overdraft coverage, he wouldn’t have been able to access the funds to make the trip.
“No one knows when an emergency situation might put them in a financial bind,” Holcomb said. “This is just one example of where JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® has made a real difference in a valued customer’s life.”
Confidence in the future
As Bank of the Pacific plans to acquire three branch facilities, JMFA is helping the staff prepare to roll out JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® to new customers. Holcomb appreciates having the expertise and support to make communicating the program to potential new users easier. “In the end, we know that we have a say in how we manage our overdraft program,” she commented. “It is a bonus that we have JMFA’s expertise to make sure the program is 100 percent compliant and providing additional revenue for the bank.”