Known as a brilliant businessperson, wise philanthropist, and father of the U.S. credit unions, Edward A. Filene once said:
Progress is not the mere correction of evils. Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.
Filene’s words still ring true today and credit unions are constantly working toward progress, locally and globally. Credit unions are not only financial institutions that exist to provide affordable financial solutions to their members and financial education to their communities, they are also socially conscious organizations that strive to make a positive difference in their members’ lives and improve the world in which we all live. As such, credit unions are continually looking for new and improved ways to best serve their members while also respecting the world at large. One of the best and most inventive ways that many credit unions have found to do so in recent years is through the use of eStatements (electronic statements).
By encouraging members to replace traditional paper statements with eStatements, credit unions are making a two-fold positive impact: 1) Protecting members’ identities by reducing the paper trail of regular mail and thus the chance for identity theft, and 2) Cutting back the need for resources to create paper statements and in turn, improving the environment. And, in order to successfully execute the eStatement initiative, making members aware of the option and encouraging them to switch over, many credit unions have developed some clever campaigns and incentives.
Enticing Credit Union Offers for eStatement Users
FAA Credit Union (Oklahoma City, OK) began offering e-statements more than ten years ago, and according to Alison Wolf, Vice President of Marketing, did so for a couple of reasons: 1) It's a safe, secure and quick way for members to receive their monthly account statements and 2) It's a cost effective way for the credit union to get information out to members. Wolf says that members can benefit in many ways. They no longer have to wait for the mail to arrive since their statements are available online as soon as the clock strikes midnight on the first of the month. “They can store this information without hassle or worries of filing paper, and can use it as a way to reduce fraud and identify theft,” she explains.
The credit union offers specials to members twice a year, sometimes offering a $5.00 cash gift if they activate eStatements, or they feature a large giveaway such as a laptop, cash, vacation or other prize given to a lucky member who is an e-statement subscriber. Currently they’re giving away three iPads in their eStatement sweepstakes, and members respond to these big-ticket items. “We will see our monthly activations triple during a promotion month -- typically our promotions last three months and we will see this lift through the duration of the promotion,” says Wolf.
At Dominion Credit Union (Richmond, VA) they’ve been offering eStatements since around 2004. According to Natalie Baker, Vice President of Marketing, eStatements are a win-win for both the credit union and the members. “The members get a more secure, clutter-free way to access their account history, and the credit union saves money over paper statements and postage -- that’s money we can put toward better rates and services for our members,” she explains. Plus, since 90% of Dominion’s members never enter a branch, they are constantly looking for ways to make doing business with them more convenient, especially through online channels, and eStatements seem to be a perfect fit.
Baker sites numerous benefits of eStatements for members including:
Dominion has run several successful eStatement promos including a $500 VISA gift card sweepstakes and a deposit just for trying the service. “They’ve been so effective that we’re running another one now where new users can win one of two iPads when they sign up for eStatements during the promotional period and existing users can win one of three -- we felt the iPad, with its simplicity, portability, and technology, was a perfect tie-in and they can access their eStatements easily from the device,” says Baker.
The credit union’s eStatement incentives are a great call to action, drawing a lot of attention and urging members to give the service a try. Baker reports that the goal of 76 new eStatement users for the August 2010 promotion (a 40% increase) was vastly exceeded with 298 new that month! “Since then we’ve set goals at 60-75% our normal average, and while our penetration has increased, causing some diminishing returns, we’re still way more than doubling our average new users during these promotions -- for our current offer we’re hoping to get 100 new users in two months, well over our base of 58,” she says. In addition to great campaign results, Dominion was recently recognized by CUNA with a Diamond Award for excellence in email marketing for one of their eStatement campaigns, "We Love Neat Freaks."
Baker feels that the benefits of eStatements really speak for themselves and while it’s important to promote them it’s also critical to educate members on the security of eStatements, especially for less tech-savvy members. “Our eStatements are encrypted and protected by our members’ secure online banking login -- plus, studies show that eStatements reduce the risk of identity theft from lost or stolen paper statements,” contends Baker.
If you’re interested in making the switch from paper to electronic statements, check out your credit union’s newsletter and website to find out about special incentives and details. Not a credit union member but looking for a progressive financial institution committed to protecting your identity as well as our environment? Then find a credit union and join today!
By Cyndi Cohen