Monday, May 31, 2010

Reg E Opt In Results Better Than Expected

As I travel across the country and talk to bankers about their early Reg E opt-in results, many are experiencing significantly higher than expected acceptance rates. In fact, some banks have indicated that they have achieved opt-in rates of as high as 85% or more from the highest impacted segments (those who have the highest use of overdraft coverage) and more than 95% from new customers who are opening a new account.

This level of acceptance should provide some comfort to financial institutions who have been concerned about a massive outflow of fee income as a result of Reg E beginning on August 15. Alternatively, this level of opt in sets the bar rather high for those organizations who have either not begun their Reg E communication or had thrown in the towel expecting customers to opt out on a massive basis.

In talking to those bankers who have achieved best-in-class results, here are the consistent strategies for success:
  • Connect with customers using as many channels as possible - While response to statement inserts, direct mail and ATMs has not been as strong as the outbound telephone, 1:1 branch contact and email channel, the most successful banks have used all channels to provide a clear understanding of the regulation and to generate response.
  • Use all outbound phone capabilities available - When a direct connection is made with a customer discussing the option of 'keeping their coverage the same' and 'having the assurance of no surprises', success rates have approached 90+%. Banks are using all of the resources possible to make these calls, including branch call nights, outsourced providers and leveraging inbound call resources.
  • Expand communication beyond high opportunity segments - Instead of only connecting with high OD households, the most successful organizations are reaching out to all of their customers regarding opting in. While not having the same immediate financial impact, this communication emphasis will avoid potential negative customer experiences in the future.
As a result of the strong results achieved to date by those banks who started early, most of the financial institutions I have talked to have communication strategies that extend well beyond August 15. While the regulation takes effect on that date, most banks are going to continue mailing and call efforts until they have reached as many households as possible. Obviously, knowing that an 80+% acceptance rate is possible provides the financial incentive to not approach this effort casually.

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