Want to Deliver Excellent Service? Offer an Excellent Service!

on "October 02, 2018 10:13 am"

Ever wonder why members don’t use your services to help them make informed financial decisions? Maybe it’s because they don’t understand the complexities of how a program works or they become frustrated by ever-changing rules. Learn how to avoid member confusion and create a more satisfying service experience for everyone.

By Richard Miller, Executive Vice President

Ask any credit union about its mission and it will likely include “service-centric” or some variation of the idea. Excellent service doesn’t happen in a silo or start and end with tellers. It’s an all-encompassing idea that should be at the forefront of every decision and every offering.

Some overdraft programs—defined by data-driven algorithms that calculate unique and ever-changing limits for each member—seem designed to fail important service expectations. By contrast, fully disclosed overdraft programs with static limits offer a simple solution that empowers members to make informed financial decisions.

Overdraft Limits 
With a data-driven overdraft solution, limits vary for each member based on factors like average daily balance, direct deposits, etc. These limits change as the data changes. So how can your members ever know how much they could overdraft? Unfortunately, they can’t. “Data-driven” feels safe to some institutions, and provides the feeling of having control, but it comes at the expense of providing first-rate service.

In a fully disclosed overdraft program, the limit is the same for everyone, all the time. Predictable, steady and reliable—all things that members appreciate and count on. 

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Ability to Repay 
While individuals with higher balances may be less risky overdraft users and therefore deserve a higher overdraft limit, I think this makes too many assumptions. Your members could have accounts elsewhere, have varying degrees of liabilities, or any number of other scenarios. The ability to repay is based on a lending process to determine creditworthiness. We can’t know everyone’s financial story from one account snapshot, so from a service standpoint, it only seems fair to treat all members equally. Moreover, overdrafts are not subject to Truth-in-Lending regulations, so care should be taken to avoid the appearance of a credit product.

Overdraft programs without an established limit by their very nature cannot be fully disclosed—no limit can be stated at the beginning because it frequently changes.Fully disclosed overdraft programs require members to opt-in before ever using them. Being transparent upfront gives individuals the power to make an informed decision about whether to use the service or not.

Employee Understanding 
Trying to explain something to an upset member who gets more confused is not fun and is bad for morale. Data-driven overdraft solutions are unexplainable in simple terms—they’re highly technical, with ever-changing limits based on information a person may be uncomfortable being judged on.

An overdraft program with simple rules that can be explained to an individual easily and concisely. Employees will remain poised and confident during inquiries.

Account Holder Understanding 
You want members to feel empowered, grateful, and satisfied. If you want to offer excellent member service, offer an excellent service to your members—fully disclosed overdraft protection programs.

For more information on implementing a service-focused, fully disclosed overdraft solution with a 100 percent written compliance guarantee,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For more than 38 years JMFA has been considered one of the most trusted names in the industry helping credit unions improve their performance and profitability. JMFA has been a League Business Partner since 2004. To learn more please visit www.JMFA.com or call 800.809.2307.