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SECUs overdraft protection efforts save member millions

RALEIGH, N.C. (10/25/11)--North Carolina State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) is continuing its overdraft protection efforts with one goal--help members avoid "the bounce," completely whenever possible. With more than 700,000 members using the traditional service, SECU said it 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 cost savings for many of SECU's 800,000-plus checking account holders.

The $21 billion asset, Raleigh, N.C-based 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.

SECU introduced NSF Fee Free Days in early 2010, waiving $12 NSF fees on two 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 designed program, also waiving fees on overdraft transfers for two days each year.  Since their inceptions, the combined programs have saved members nearly $10 million, SECU said. Along with the 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 p.m. 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 p.m. to avoid potential NSF fees.

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, SECU said.

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