Known for implementing measures to help keep money in members’ pockets, North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) is committed to continuing its overdraft protection efforts with one goal – help members avoid “the bounce” completely whenever possible! SECU has long offered a traditional overdraft protection program, in which a member’s checking account is protected by funds in up to two other SECU accounts. With over 700,000 members utilizing the traditional service, the Credit Union felt more could be done to help offset overdraft costs and began ramping up its overdraft mitigation efforts in January 2010, with the introduction of NSF Fee Free Days. The Credit Union followed with the rollout of Cash Points Global – a controlled spending account/card, then text alerts, end-of-day 5:30 pm cutoff, Another Chance, and Overdraft Fee Free Days. Whether one service provides a complement to another or stands alone, these initiatives have resulted in tremendous cost savings for many of SECU’s 800,000+ checking account holders.
SECU introduced NSF Fee Free Days in early 2010, waiving $12 NSF fees on two separate days each year. Regardless of the number of items marked as NSF on the two days, SECU will return the items to the payee but waive the member’s NSF fees, helping to ease the financial burden related to such items. The beginning of 2011 saw the implementation of a similarly-design program, also waiving fees on overdraft transfers for two days each year. Since their inceptions, the combined programs have saved members nearly $10 million. Along with these waiver programs, SECU enhanced its systems to automatically initiate electronic alerts to members of potential “red flags” on their checking accounts, with 2.1 million alerts helping members track their accounts in the current year. Migrating to a 5:30 pm end of day cutoff prepared the organization for “Another Chance” – a program designed to notify members when a check is attempting to post with insufficient funds in place. This early morning notification allows members “another chance” to make a deposit by 5:30 pm to avoid potential NSF fees. And for those who desire traditional checking services in a non-traditional manner, the Cash Point Global (CPG) controlled spending account/card takes overdraft prevention a step further. With no checks, no paper statements and transactions limited to available funds in the account, there is no risk of overdraft or NSF fees.
Jennifer Hamrick, Senior Vice President of SECU’s Support Services department comments, “When it comes to managing a checking account, people occasionally make mistakes. State Employees’ Credit Union, in an ‘outside the norm’ manner, is trying to keep those mistakes from being costly for its members --- mostly because it’s the right thing to do. We’ve taken ‘Bounce Protection’ to a whole new level over the past two years – one that has truly made a positive financial difference for our members.”