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Plus4 Credit Union – Overdraft Program Consulting

A HISTORY OF DOING THE RIGHT THING LEADS TO GREATER OUTREACH AND IMPROVED OUTCOMES

HOUSTON’S FIRST CREDIT UNION CONTINUES TO FOCUS ON COMPLIANT STRATEGIES THAT PUT MEMBERS FIRST

Established as the Houston Postal Credit Union in 1929, to serve the financial needs of local postal workers, Plus4 Credit Union has continued its legacy of providing affordable financial solutions to a greater field of members since its renaming in 2005. Over the years, the credit union has implemented many programs to help its members accomplish their financial goals.

Plus4 implemented JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® to ensure that its courtesy pay strategy was a responsible and fully compliant option that would help members cover occasional overdrafts caused by unexpected expenses, financial emergencies, and account balancing errors. According to Plus4 CEO Vladimir Stark, the program has enabled the credit union to give its members what they need to protect their finances while providing the institution compliance and program management peace of mind.

After several years of successfully managing their overdraft solution, they became concerned that program results weren’t maintaining a sufficient level of satisfaction for the credit union or its members. “We noticed that we were lacking some consistencies in our program outreach and had some uncertainty about whether our processes and procedures were meeting all regulatory expectations,” explained Stark.

It also was very important to the credit union’s management team and board that they were serving all of their members properly, with options to help them address their individual financial needs. “We wanted to make sure that we were maintaining our overdraft program accurately so it would provide the most benefit to as many members as possible,” he continued.

Based on previous experience with JMFA, Stark and his colleagues were convinced that the company’s overdraft program implementation and maintenance expertise would help Plus4 achieve program consistency that would better serve members and prevent any regulatory risk for the credit union.

Since re-signing with JMFA, Plus4 has continued to experience the benefits of tapping into the company’s knowledge and on-going sensible advice in areas that are critical to its member-focused mission.

INFORMED EMPLOYEES PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE

According to Stark, a major benefit of working with JMFA is the ability to access the company’s extensive employee training opportunities. “JMFA’s training has always been on-point,” he said. “Now that our employees understand the program more completely, they are much more knowledgeable and consistent in how they present it to our members.”

He has noticed a difference in the attitudes and confidence level of employees after they have completed JMFA’s training. “The folks managing our program were fired up after attending the JMFA Academy,” he commented. “They had more clarity and understood exactly what they had been missing in our program, as well as where they needed to focus in order to fix it. When they came back to the credit union, they shared that training with other employees to spread the knowledge and understanding to their co-workers.”

NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO GREATER RESULTS

Before re-signing with JMFA, one of the areas of concern for the credit union was its ability to monitor how members were using the program. “We weren’t able to track program use and results as effectively as we would have liked,” said Stark. “Consequently, we weren’t able to precisely identify which members had opt-ed in to coverage for POS and ATM transactions. Now, with JMFA’s software, we have the means to see who has been participating and can identify which members we haven’t spoken to about the program — or who might need a follow-up to help them use the service more effectively.”

COMPLIANCE EXPERTISE PROVIDES TOTAL PEACE OF MIND

When Plus4 management was contemplating the need to review the credit union’s overdraft strategy, maintaining regulatory compliance was a key driver in the decision to renew its relationship with JMFA. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t violate any regulations related to consumer protection or other regulatory oversight,” said Stark.

“Having JMFA review our disclosures gives everyone much more confidence when it comes to avoiding any type of scrutiny from our examiners or possible civil litigation. Plus, the emails I receive from our consultant team reinforce our ability to keep all staff members up-to-speed on what is required. In turn, that enables us to provide more comprehensive, thoughtful member service.”

ON-GOING ACCESS TO BEST PRACTICES INCREASES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

Overall, Stark appreciates the commitment JMFA’s team maintains toward the credit union. “I am able to call my contacts to ask questions, request additional training or set up a meeting to discuss an action plan to address any needs we might have,” he explained. “The JMFA team is very responsive and they understand our business and our objectives. They have been a great strategic partner that works along-side our staff to help us accomplish our goals.”

WHEN IT ALL COMES TOGETHER AS PRESCRIBED, EVERYBODY WINS

Plus4 Credit Union takes seriously its responsibility to provide its members with the programs and services they rely on to shape their finances for long-term success. For Stark and his team, this means maintaining programs that are based on responsible and sound practices, that utilize technology efficiently, and that are delivered in a consistent and transparent manner.

“Thanks to JMFA’s fully transparent disclosures and on-going communications resources, members have more confidence in what the overdraft service offers,” he said. “As a result, more are inclined to consider the program as an option to support their financial security.”

RESPONSIBLE SERVICE SUPPORTS A SERVICE-DRIVEN MISSION

For anyone who is on the fence about the value a courtesy pay program adds to the member service experience, Stark offers this advice: “If providing excellent service is part of your mission, then JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® is a sensible solution. It is a socially responsible, compliance-guaranteed program that is maintained around sound financial practices.”

From a performance standpoint, Stark believes that a by-product of consistently delivering a solid solution, such as JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®, is an increased level of comfort and empowerment for members — which leads to stronger relationships and business growth opportunities.

About JMFA
JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, creating more value, serving members better, delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service, or uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations—JMFA provides measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.

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The First State Bank of Columbus – Overdraft Program Consulting

STAYING FOCUSED ON COMPLIANCE & PERFORMANCE STRENGTHENS COMPETITIVE EDGE

The First State Bank in Columbus, Texas, implemented JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® in order to enhance its product offerings, grow its customer base and provide superior service in a competitive marketplace. Over the past several years, the bank has experienced very positive results in terms of strong program participation, increased revenue and compliance peace of mind. At the same time, its customers have benefitted from a reliable service that helps them maintain financial stability. .

Compliance peace of mind reinforced by on-going advice and resources
According to Donna Krueger, First State Bank senior vice president/compliance and operations, the bank relies on JMFA’s regulatory expertise and quality employee training opportunities to maintain compliance with all overdraft regulations and best practices. As regulatory uncertainty and marketplace competition have continued, Donna and her colleagues have remained confident that their overdraft program is fully compliant.

Donna has so much confidence in JMFA’s compliance expertise that when she was completing due diligence on another overdraft program option, the first thing she did was to check the program’s compliance component. When her contact explained that the provider considered this the responsibility of an institution’s compliance officer, she said, “I am the compliance officer and there is no way I would run this program without an expert to guide me on how to keep it compliant.”

Donna considered that difference a big selling point for JMFA. “We know that if we follow what JMFA tells us to do, the assurance is there that we are doing it right, she explained.”

On-going support simplifies program management
As far as the everyday program maintenance is concerned, Donna and her staff credit JMFA’s customer communications resources, on-going recommendations and easy-to-use software for facilitating the process. “The program’s reporting capabilities help us keep track of important metrics, such as program penetration rates, opt-in rates, income per account, NSF income, charge-offs and more,” Donna said.

Best practices lead to improved service and sustainable income
While JMFA’s compliance expertise was one of the main reasons bank management originally chose JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®, they are also satisfied with the results it provides from both a customer service and revenue perspective. Customer appreciation of the service is evidenced by increases in extended coverage opt ins and program use. And by following JMFA’s best practice recommendations, the bank has been able to protect and grow its revenue.

The value of a professional perspective
Donna and her staff continue to realize how important it is to listen to the experts when it comes to compliance and best practices. “I would advise any other bank to get JMFA out to look at their situation to see what they are doing. JMFA will provide a compliant solution that works for them.”

From a program administration perspective, Liska Pilsner, the bank’s overdraft program administrator appreciates JMFA’s hands-on approach. “They have great people who will walk you through the program and answer any questions you might have to make sure you are doing things the right way,” she said. “They always respond to our questions in a timely manner and work with us to fix any problems we have.”

Melissa Fitzpatrick, First State Bank vice president agreed. “JMFA runs a complete program with compliance being at the very heart. Institutions should give them a try.”

About JMFA
JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, creating more value, serving members better, delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service, or uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations—JMFA provides measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.

Read more Case Studies

South Texas FCU – Vendor Contract Negotiations

CREDIT UNION SAVES HALF A MILLION DOLLARS WITH VENDOR CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

From its humble beginnings with 34 members in 1952 to its current $54 million in assets, South Texas Federal Credit Union’s motto has always been “Exceed Everyone’s Expectations.” With budgets tight during the pandemic, CEO Gerardo Paz set his sights on reducing the credit union’s operating expenses without sacrificing its ability to exceed members’ expectations.

Paz recalled meeting a JMFA representative at an industry event and decided to research the company’s contract negotiation services further. After discovering more about JMFA’s reputation and speaking with National Director Kelly Flynn, Paz felt confident moving forward with an analysis of his credit union’s contracts. Upon review, the JMFA team determined it was prime time to renegotiate the debit card processing contract, estimating annual savings of $47,108.

Negotiating Savings—and Much More

South Texas Federal Credit Union had been experiencing service quality issues with its debit card processing vendor and couldn’t get ahold of anyone at the company. Due to this frustrating situation, Paz didn’t rule out the possibility of switching providers.

“The bottom line is, we wanted to reduce expenses,” he said. “For what we were paying [the vendor], we weren’t getting the expected service experience.”

JMFA bid the service out to the incumbent vendor and a prospective vendor, setting up calls with the latter so Paz and his team could learn more. An apples-to-apples comparison of pricing and services showed a strong offer from the prospective vendor, compared to what the credit union had.

Meanwhile, JMFA continued to pursue their current vendor to obtain a proposal. After months of sending emails and calling, JMFA finally got in touch with a senior vice president of the company, who very much wanted to retain the credit union’s business.

The executive submitted a competitive offer and met with Paz’s team and JMFA to discuss the vendor’s plan to make up for past service issues—including assigning a dedicated relationship manager for the credit union and an annual review of services to ensure satisfaction.

After considering both proposals, South Texas FCU decided to remain with its provider. The new contract provided annual savings of $48,516, a $100,000 signing bonus, a low early termination fee, better service and 18 months of retroactive savings—an additional $72,774 that the credit union hadn’t anticipated. Plus, Paz and his team would avoid the inconvenience of going through a card conversion during an already hectic time.

In total, JMFA helped South Texas FCU save $512,386 over the 7-year term, along with hours of work and many, many headaches.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

If Paz had kept the contract negotiations in-house, he’s confident it wouldn’t have been nearly as smooth or successful as the outcome JMFA achieved.

First, he expects he would have lost patience with the unresponsive vendor. “[Our provider] was so hard to reach, but JMFA was constantly on their toes,” Paz noted. Already stretched thin due to the pandemic, and without the resources to keep trying to make contact, the credit union would have probably ended up switching vendors, losing out on six-digit savings and having to deal with a conversion.

Then, there was the negotiation itself. “There were so many things I wouldn’t have even thought to ask vendors about. That’s where JMFA’s know-how and expertise came into play.”

With its newfound savings, Paz said the credit union plans to upgrade to instant-issue debit cards and provide more services to continue exceeding expectations. “JMFA provided a tailor-made solution, so now we have what we need to best serve our members.”

People Helping People

Throughout the process, Paz said JMFA displayed impressive professionalism and communication with his colleagues and the service providers. “JMFA never threatened we’d leave the vendor; they were polite in asking for a better deal and better service for us. Every single individual on their team is extremely professional.”

He also appreciates how easy the entire process turned out for his team. “JMFA made everything very simple. The contingency pricing model is perfect—it’s very reasonable and we’re saving a lot of money with JMFA.”

Paz encourages other credit unions to explore JMFA’s contract optimizing service.

“Whether you want to stay with your vendor or look for a new one, just reach out to JMFA. They will go over all the details and answer all of your questions in a respectful way. At the end of the day, it’s people helping people. Thank you, JMFA, for your tremendous help!”

Working with JMFA’s contract negotiation experts, South Texas Federal Credit Union found more than half a million dollars in savings on its debit card processing contract alone. How much money are you missing out on? Start the conversation by requesting a free appraisal of your vendor contracts that will renew in the next 18-24 months.

About JMFA
JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, creating more value, serving members better, delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service, or uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations—JMFA provides measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.

Read more Case Studies