ODP Manager Features to Streamline your Fresh Start Loan Process

ODP Manager includes tools that may help you manage your Fresh Start Loan process.

For each account in a Fresh Start repayment plan, you can add the Fresh Start Loan repayment schedule. Payment reminders are created that display when due to remind you to check if the payment has been made as agreed. Once the payment is received, you can track the payment amount and date.

Also, you can easily create the Fresh Start Loan agreement using the ODP Manager account information and repayment schedule. Even if you choose not to track repayment schedules, you can still streamline FSL agreement creation by generating the document using ODP Manager.

The standard letter templates include an FSL Default close letter. If an account under a repayment schedule has defaulted and must now be closed and charged off, this letter can be generated and tracked in ODP Manager.

Do you send other Fresh Start Loan letters to accounts in repayment status? An Ad Hoc letter can be created for you to generate as needed – just enter the deposit account number and the letter will pre-fill with the account information. Once it is generated, it is tracked and retained within ODP Manager just like your Collection and Custom letters.

ODP Manager also includes a Fresh Start Tracking report that lists all accounts with a Fresh Start Loan Repayment ODP Status code. Use this report to monitor accounts currently in repayment or to identify accounts that have paid the Fresh Start Loan in full and should be reassigned an overdraft limit.

Let ODP Manager make managing your Fresh Start Loan process easier!

Consistency in Overdraft Privilege Training

Overdraft Privilege programs have been around since the early 1990’s and they continue to benefit both consumers and financial institutions. Consistent and proper training of all employees on the benefits and pitfalls of a successfully run program remains important as we work through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Strunk has always recommended that all frontline personnel be trained on the features and benefits of operating an overdraft privilege program on an annual basis or as needed as turnover occurs. Returning overdrawn items on accounts only causes havoc for consumers and very few people want their paper debits denied when presented, even if it overdraws their account. For electronic debits including ATM and debit card transactions, financial institutions must obtain consumer consent before paying those items that cause an account to go negative. This gives consumers a choice on how they want their account handled.

Training should include the procedures on how your institution handles non-sufficient fund (NSF) items. Make sure that your procedure follows the institution’s policy on NSF items. Each employee opening new accounts should clearly convey how your bank’s overdraft program works. Pursuant to Regulation E, obtain opt-in if a consumer wants electronic items paid at point of sale rather than those debits being denied. Denied transactions keep the consumer from taking the groceries or prescription drugs home when using their debit card.

New accounts personnel also need to clearly discuss the fees associated with overdrawing the account.

Capping the total number of overdraft fees charged on a consumer account on any day is a best practice that is recommended by regulators. Also, waiving fees on small overdrawn amounts is also recommended.

Ongoing training is good for any service that your institution offers and consumer complaints are minimized when policies are transparent and communicated frequently. If you haven’t trained your employees on the features and benefits of your bank’s overdraft payment program, now is a great time to do so.

Strunk is pleased to announce addition of FFIEC CAT Tool assessment component

Financial institutions are at risk for an increasing amount and sophistication of cybersecurity breaches and threats. For this reason, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) created a Cybersecurity Assessment Tool to help institutions identify the risks they face and to be sure they are prepared in the event they are faced with one of these events.

Strunk is pleased to announce the addition of this FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool to its Risk Assessor module. The feature is comprised of both the Inherent Risk Assessment and Maturity Assessment sections. Maturity Assessments are organized into domains: Cyber Risk Management and Oversight, Threat Intelligence and Collaboration, Cybersecurity Controls, External Dependency Management, and Cyber Incident Management and Resilience. Users must score their organizations on each question to determine their overall risk level. The Strunk approach to the assessment streamlines an otherwise cumbersome process so that financial institutions can much more easily complete these assessments and identify their maturity level.

Strunk CEO Dan Roderick says, “The FFIEC CAT is required for all financial institutions annually, so we are very happy to add this feature to Risk Manager at no additional charge to our clients.”

Clients have been using Risk Assessor to complete regulatory required internal risk assessments in days rather than weeks. The solution is preloaded with key risk indicators for BSA, ACH, Fair

Lending, Cybersecurity, Compliance, Asset Quality and much more. Call report data from your institution is automatically uploaded to the program quarterly to substantiate the risk. Concise board reports are easy to read and understand highlighting areas of high risk your bank faces.

Current Risk Assessor clients will receive the FFIEC CAT Tool for no change in their annual fee.  Please contact us if you are interested in viewing a demo of the tool.

Can Strunk’s ODP Manager Software Lighten Your Load?

Do you have employees now working from home? If you are using Strunk’s hosted ODP Manager software, this may allow you to adapt to changing work schedules or locations and easily give new users access. If you are a current ODP Manager client but do not have the hosted version, the upgrade is free!

Enjoy the benefits of a hosted solution. No more application software to support on your own network. No more worries about server and other support software becoming outdated. ODP Manager is upgraded monthly – requiring no support on your end – the upgrades are seamless and automatically available to your users. It doesn’t get any easier.

If you need a more efficient file import process, another huge benefit of the hosted solution is that you can import your extract file directly from your core processor while your users are not on premise. We encourage you to take advantage of ODP Manager’s Automatic Upload option – if your core can generate your extract file automatically then Strunk can help you set up the file import for a scheduled time each day. Then the data will already be imported and available when your users start their workday.

You may be unable to print letters every day or you may be trying to prioritize which letters can be printed at home versus ones that can wait to be printed from your normal branch location. Strunk can help you determine which letters are required and which letters may be omitted. We can also help you make any necessary letter content changes.

ODP Manager can save your reports within the software. Ask us to set up archived reports – then you can refer back to the daily reports as you have time available. Implementation of these strategies should help with the remote management of your ODP program.


Overdraft Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overdraft Privilege has been a staple for consumers for the past 27 years and paying items into overdraft status is better than returning them to the merchant or denying the consumer the ability to take home the groceries or prescription drugs.Given the recent circumstances our country is facing Strunk’s Overdraft Privilege program can help consumers and financial institutions get through these difficult times.

In ad hoc overdraft payment programs financial institutions decide to pay or not pay an overdrawn item and whether to charge a fee or not. These types of programs can be discriminatory and may lead to disparate treatment for some customers. In our formal overdraft privilege program those customers who are in the program want their items paid and they don’t mind paying you a fee. In essence you are saving them the return check charge from the merchant or the hassle and embarrassment of being denied at the point of sale.

Certainly there are times when waives or refunds are warranted. Make sure you have a documented policy that outlines the considerations to factor into the refund decision. Also, keep the authority to grant a refund as tight as possible – the more people with authority the greater chance of disparate treatment.

Strunk’s recommended Fresh Start Loan can be used as a tool to help consumers get back on their feet during financial hardships. If a consumer is unable to pay back an overdraft immediately we recommend allowing them to pay it back over four installments. The zero percent interest loan can be used at any time to help consumers pay back an overdraft over time rather than immediately like it is in most financial institutions.

Four installments could be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Working with your customer to help them work out of a tight cash flow situation will strengthen the relationship and keep the negative information from affecting their credit score. More importantly, you will keep their checking account open under difficult times. Now more than ever, managing the day-to-day overdraft process as a line of business is a must and your customers will appreciate the service you are providing.

Setting the record straight on excessive use

Lately, there has been a lot of confusion around consumers who ‘abuse’ the overdraft privilege program from our clients.  Our clients have asked us what they should do for their consumers who use the overdraft privilege program on a regular basis and what are the recommended compliance and regulatory practices they should follow for these consumers.

The first thing that we tell our clients is that overdraft privilege is a discretionary service, which primarily means that our clients are not obligated to pay any item.  With respect to both making the service available to consumers and taking it away from consumers, it is very important to be very consistent in applying your policy when managing your overdraft privilege program.  We tell our clients if they are not consistent with their program then desperate or discriminatory treatment could result from this action.

It is very important to understand that only the FDIC has guidance around ‘excessive use’ of overdraft privilege programs. If you are not regulated by the FDIC, then there are no specific rules regarding what a financial institution needs to do in case of excessive use.  FDIC regulated institutions need to notify a customer who overdraws their account on more than six occasions where a fee is charged in a rolling twelve-month period.  One thing to understand is there are no requirements to close an account or take any other specific action to accounts that use overdraft privilege on a regular basis.  Examiners or Auditors that push financial institutions to take action on these customers are really taking regulation into their own hands.

Strunk’s recommendation has always been to utilize the specifics that are outlined in our overdraft privilege service policy.  The only reasons for revocation of overdraft privilege are the reasons outlined in the service policy, otherwise coming up with arbitrary reasons to revoke certain customers access could be challenged.

Policy Management Made Easy

Banks are required to have each and every policy approved by the board of directors on an annual basis. Many financial institutions keep their policies in Word or PDF documents on the back credenza of the officer in charge of each area of the bank. Operational and compliance policies are in the operations area of the bank; lending policies are in the chief lending officer’s file cabinet and accounting policies on the cashier’s desk.

On average, banks have between 40-60 policies that are reviewed throughout the year by the bank’s board and any changes to the policies are updated after board approval. This process can be cumbersome and hectic for most community banks. It doesn’t have to be that way!

Strunk has put together a terrific solution for managing the annual review and policy approval process. Rather than maintaining separate folders of policies, why not have them in one place with access to those who need to read, make changes, or review them periodically? That is what Strunk’s Policy Manager Program does.

Keeping a log of changes for senior management, outside auditors, or the regulators is important. Making updates or changes to policies should be easy to do. Redlined copies of the policies go to the board for approval. Your board only wants to review changes made to policies, not the entire policy. Strunk’s solution does all of this and policies are put into chapters based on each functional area of the bank. You send us your policies; we do all of the work. Access to each policy is given based on user access code. Contact us for a quick demo of the cost effective, yet comprehensive Policy Manager solution.

Make ODP Manager Letters and Events Work for You!

Have you considered how you may customize ODP Manager for your institution?

Do your users need the ability to share information about ODP Manager accounts? ODP Manager allows users to create account comments and reminders. These events are available to all users and you can even add attachments! Overdue reminders are easily viewed each day when logging in.

Are there ODP related letters that you are generating manually? An Ad Hoc letter can be created for you to generate as needed – just enter the account number and the letter will pre-fill with the account information in ODP Manager. Once it is generated, it will be tracked and retained within ODP Manager just like your Collection and Custom letters.

Would you like the letter signature and contact information to change based on the account’s assigned branch? ODP Manager can do that for you!

Would you like your ODP letters to show your logos and footers instead of printing on letterhead? Would you like a user’s signature to print on your letters? If you provide your image files or text, they can be included in your ODP Manager letter templates.

Let ODP Manager help your users streamline account notation and letter generation by implementing these suggestions.

Opting in for Overdraft Protection

Banks and Credit Unions have been providing Overdraft Protection programs for many years but 10 years ago all debit card and ATM transactions that created an overdraft had to have consumer consent before the financial institution could pay the debit and charge a fee.

Prior to 2010, paper checks were nearly 50% of all debit transactions a bank would process and today less than 8% of all debits are paper. Consumers paying with a debit card or electronic transaction is a common practice and we are nearing the situation many predicted 30 years ago of a paperless society for banking transactions.

If consumers want to take home their prescriptions or groceries when paying with a debit card when there are insufficient funds in their account, a bank or credit union cannot automatically authorize the transaction. Beginning on July 1, 2010 a financial institution had to obtain opt-in for these transactions pursuant to Regulation E.

A financial institution can obtain opt-in via their website, in person, by mail, or over the phone. It is not required that a financial institution obtain a signature on the prescribed Federal Reserve’s A-9 form, nor do the forms have to be kept for any period of time. If a consumer opts-in, a confirmation of the opt-in must be sent to the consumer.

Opting-in is a great service for those customers who want flexibility in managing their account. Others may not see any benefit to opting-in. But it gives consumers complete choice on how they want their account handled when it comes to paying for things they need when they are short on funds.

Strunk at ABA’s Conference for Community Bankers

Strunk was proud to exhibit once again at the American Bankers Association’s Conference for Community Bankers February 9-11th. This event always proves to be one of our favorites, this year hosted at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. The event is a great way to reconnect with many customers and to build relationships with new bankers each year.

We welcomed the opportunity to show attendees the latest features offered by our Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) software. The solution now includes six GRC tools – Risk Assessor, Policy Manager, Controls Manager, Skills Manager, Issues Manager and Vendor Manager. We also had some great conversations regarding our state-of-the-art ODP Manager program and were able to visit with many long-time clients.

Strunk was excited to debut our new Vendor Manager application to the ABA membership. Vendor Manager provides an easy to follow standardized process to assess risk, gather due diligence materials, evaluate contracts and stores all vendor documentation in one convenient place. Vendor Manager keeps everything organized, is simple to use and of course, follows the latest FFIEC guidelines.

The most enjoyable part of the event just may have been our conference t-shirt station. Attendees were able to choose from one of 4 designs and watched while their customized shirt was made right before their eyes!

Congratulations to Paul McLaughlin of Litchfield Bancorp who was the winner of our TaylorMade Spider X Putter!

Thanks to all who stopped by, and to the ABA for once again putting on a great event. We are already looking forward to next year!

An independent certified public accountant has examined Strunk’s operations and found them to be in compliance with the AICPA’s Trust Service Principles. It was determined that Strunk meets the Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy criteria for SOC 2 established by the AICPA.