ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — An eStatement solution here not only saves United Federal Credit Union $180,000 annually, but earned the CU the inaugural Q2 Innovation Award.

"United Federal Credit Union won this award because they have proven time and again that they are always innovating and finding ways to maximize the power of the Q2 virtual banking platform," said Matt Flake, president and CEO of the Austin-based Q2, a secure cloud-based virtual banking solution provider.

United Federal CU's Director of eCommerce Sales and Marketing Carly McNeilus explained that the $1.83 billion credit union, supporting 130,000 members in 26 branches, first partnered with Q2 in 2010.

Since then, Q2 has provided digital banking solutions, including online, voice, mobile banking, risk and fraud prevention software, bill pay, among other solutions including the winning eStatement solution.

"UFCU recognized that the former [enrollment] process lacked ease of use for the member. The approach was taken to put the option in front of the member during online banking enrollment, a time when it seemed natural to prompt the member," said McNeilus. "We knew that by including it in the enrollment, we would be presenting the option to the all eligible members who could select eStatements."

eSign Act Woes

After the eSign Act was enacted in 2010, United Federal CU began seeing significant declines in eStatement enrollment. Prior to complying with the eSign Act, any staff member could enable eStatements for members through verbal consent at a minimum, explained McNeilus.

And while members could also enroll in eStatements via its online banking channel, the majority of enrollments were conducted by staff member processing through the CU's core system.

"When the ability for staff to enroll members was revoked because of the eSign Act, the enrollment dropped drastically to 7% of members enrolling," said McNeilus. "Members just simply would not go out of their way to find the enrollment option and opt-in."

From concept to fruition, McNeilus explained it took six months to roll out the in-house eStatement solution. The enhancement was submitted to Q2 and reviewed by its custom development team. Next it was implemented in a test environment and then placed into production.

"The enhancement proved to be successful as we saw the overall enrollment rate jump from 7% to 88% and a large cost savings," said McNeilus. "As a tweak, we took the same prompt and had Q2 display it one time for all existing online banking users who were not enrolled in eStatements. In that second phase for existing members we experienced a 61% adoption rate and significant cost savings."

To date, more than 20,900 members have enrolled in eStatements via the prompt, noted McNeilus adding that option-based enrollment is intuitive and easy to navigate.

"Our statement delivery costs have drastically reduced resulting in a yearly savings to the credit union of more than $180,000. This savings continues to increase every day," said McNeilus. "Additionally, we are capturing the most up-to-date email address for each member. This increases our ability to market to members via electronic communications, which also reduces our marketing costs."

Q2 Awards Moving Forward

While Q2 hosts a convention each year for its approximate 400 credit union and bank clients, 2015 marked the first awards ceremony. Flake explained that participants can be nominated two ways: Clients can nominate themselves; or a client's relationship manager can submit a nomination. (United Federal CU used the former option.)

"We submitted a summary of the revised process and the results to Q2, confident that we stood a chance to win," said McNeilus. "The revision has had a significant positive impact for members and our credit union bottom line. We were notified shortly before the conference that we were awarded the innovation award."

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