Regulation E and e-Statements

The CU*Answers mantra has always been “we make the tools, not the rules.”  Regulation is always subject to interpretation and in some cases business risk.  When we developed the e-Statement platform, credit unions requested we give them the ability to physically enroll members at the time of account opening.  This request came from those credit unions that want and need to reduce statement cost and do it at the time the member is being sold credit union products.  

The e-Statement Compliance Tax

E-Statements are a major cost-reduction service but are not a once-and-done type of offering.   According to a recent article by attorney Brian Witt, this service comes with a compliance tax.  This tax comes in the form of understanding and keeping abreast of a few regulations including Regulation E, Regulation Z, e-sign act, and TIS.  

I have attached a copy of a recent web post related to auto enrolling members into e-statements without them giving the credit union an electronic affirmative consent.  This document is written as if this attorney’s interpretation is correct and is intended to give guidance on the proper management of the e-statement services.  Many CEOs that read this may become upset as this potential compliance risk has been weighed in the past and is now being challenged and publicized.

My only recommendation to those CEOs is to read on, speak with your own compliance attorney, and make sure you have a legal opinion on your process to justify your interpretation, if different from this one.

Say your practice is to enroll members by utilizing the opening workflow functions in CU*BASE in order to keep your e-statement penetration up.  To manage this in accordance with the opinion listed above you would need to pull the e-Statement enrollment report (menu MNRPTE option #19) and on the drop-down select “1 Not accepted the Use Agreement” prior to the end of the month.  The members listed on this report are those who you have physically enrolled but have not accepted the use agreement via It’s Me 247 online banking. 

When you pull this report you do have the capability to export the file.  Why?  Perfect opportunity to use the Member Connect email option and send this group of members an email with a link to online banking reminding them to log on accept the agreement.  You can also use Member Connect to populate a telemarketing group for outbound calls and call them directly. 

Those who do not accept the agreement would need to be un-enrolled. 

Projects on Tap at CU*Answers

To make the un-enrollment process even easier, our development team is working on specifications to add a new feature to CU*BASE that would help you un-enroll a batch of members from e-Statements according to your desired measurement (i.e., members who have not accepted the Use Agreement, or who have not logged on recently, or even those who have a bad email address).  Watch for a special announcement and a new page on the Kitchen coming soon.

A final note on the author of the attached publication:  Brian Witt is one of the best credit union compliance attorneys in the country and has worked closely with both CU*Answers and CU*NorthWest clients on issues related to compliance, loan forms, and working with regulatory bodies.Farleigh Wada Witt 3-4-11-Newsletter

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