ODP Manager: Import Events and User Events

The information displayed in ODP Manager is provided by an extract file from an institution’s core system. This file is updated after close of business and is imported daily into ODP Manager. Once the import has occurred successfully, the letters due and reports are updated with the information for the current as of date.

A benefit of the hosted ODP Manager software is the advanced history tracking. This feature allows users to view and search for recorded events by account number or date. There are three main types of events that are stored within ODP Manager: import events, letter events, and user created events.

Import events are recorded at the time an import of the extract file is successfully processed. Events are identified by comparison of the current as of date’s file to the last file imported. Accounts are updated to note if accounts are now closed, are overdrawn, or now in good standing. If an overdraft limit is assigned or removed or if an account opts in or opts out for Regulation E, an event is also created in the account history.

As part of the daily tasks in ODP Manager, users will generate letters that are due. As letters are generated, a PDF of the letter is retained in the event history. The letter type, template name, and date are also recorded.

Users also can create events as needed. Comments allow users to make account notes that can be viewed by all hosted software users. Reminders allow not only notes to be added, but also allow a due date to be assigned to the item for future follow-up. Both notes and reminders can include attachments. Repayment plans can be added to generate Fresh Start agreements and to track payments made towards the repayment schedule. For accounts that have charged off, users can create a charge-off item to track recoveries and to streamline charge-off reporting. All user-created events can be viewed and updated by all users with access to ODP Manager.

Once events are tracked in ODP Manager, they can be searched by account number or by date or date range. Individual account information can be exported to PDF and events that occur in a specified date range can be exported to Excel.

If you have any questions about event information accessible in hosted ODP Manager, please contact Strunk Support at support@strunkaccess.com to find out more.

A Loan Pricing Solution that will help banks make more money

Loan pricing solutions were popular twenty years ago but they were too expensive for a lot of community banks. With banks looking for ways to make more money now might be the time to look at an affordable, easy to implement loan, relationship and deposit pricing tool.

Many banks don’t take the size of the loan into consideration when pricing commercial or commercial real estate loans. Size of the loan is one of the biggest contributing factors to the profitability to the bank. Most banks over price their biggest most profitable customers and under price their smallest least profitable customers.

Do you know which customers are the most profitable and which ones your lenders think are most profitable? A pricing tool that takes the loan and deposit relationship into consideration will give you a precise look at customer profitability. It will also tell you when to price up and when you can provide a better deal for the borrower…to win or keep the deal.

Some loan customers are fee averse. Although we never recommend not charging a fee for a loan, what rate provides the same return to the bank if there was no fee? Fees on all loans matter, but they really don’t contribute to the overall profitability of a customer on larger loans with a longer expected life of the loan.

Do you factor in deposits when pricing commercial loans? Are the deposits in interest bearing accounts or non–interest bearing? Does a large depositor necessarily warrant giving a lower rate on a commercial loan? The short answer is “no” but a pricing tool will help your lenders with that decision.

Do you price consumer loans based on the term of the loan? Do you consider the size of the loan when determining the rate? Do you collect fees on consumer loans and is it a driving factor to overall profitability?

Contact Strunk at 800.728.3116 or email at info@strunkaccess.com to learn about how our loan pricing tool will increase net interest income by at least 25bp. For a $200M loan portfolio that is $500K per year.

 

Strunk’s Issue Manager software simplifies issue resolution & improves risk management

Managing issues can be a cumbersome task for financial institutions, whether it’s tracking incidents, customer complaints, or audit and exam findings. The issue management process involves maintaining an issue log with action items, due dates, and responsible team members, often blurring the lines between issue management and project management. Standardizing your financial institution’s issue management program can improve efficiency and strengthen your Enterprise Risk Management program. Strunk’s Issue Manager software can quickly and efficiently identify and resolve issues for financial institutions.

Strunk’s Issue Manager Software:

• Define the issue, the source it came from, and who reported it.
• Details of the issue and attach any supporting document that you would like to support your issue (ex: audit findings, issue report, incident report or customer compliant report).
• Ability to prioritize issues to address the highest priorities first, moving down the line to the less urgent ones.
• Create a corrective action plan to develop the action items management will take to correct the issue, along with due dates and responsible team members.
• Track the issue’s progress as it moves toward resolution while creating a due date for it.
• Receive notification as the progress in correcting the issue within the agreed-upon timeframe.
• Create reports for internal use, auditors, and external use to help ease the remediation process.

Strunk’s Issue Manager software simplifies issue resolution, improves risk management, and enhances business operations.

Banking: Thinking Outside the Box?

Consumers pay for almost everything they do in their daily lives but historically banks have been afraid to charge a monthly fee for their checking accounts. In 2011 we developed a strategy called Secure Checking to help banks charge fees while softening the fee with products and services consumers want and use. After 13 years and 900 financial institutions later here are the results:

Bank’s customers are used to paying for things like cell phone protection for as much as $15 per month per phone. They are used to paying that much or more for Identity Theft Protection. How about roadside assistance? Consumers use a variety of services and they pay $5 per month or more. Telehealth services is a relatively new service that allows someone to call a doctor, get diagnosed over the phone and receive prescription drugs. Consumers pay $25+ per month for that now. Why not bundle up several of these sought after services and make them part of your checking account…and of course charge a small fee so you can make some money.

On average our clients 1) generate $50 per checking account per year in net fee income; 2) they strengthen the relationship with their customers; 3) they provide services that consumers want and are willing to pay for and 4) in many cases they save their customers a lot of money for services they are paying for elsewhere today.

Secure Checking is not the old Club Account that started 50 years ago and it is something all financial institutions should consider. It is easy to implement and your customers will like the new services.

Contact Strunk at 800.728.3116 or email at info@strunkaccess.com to learn more about fee income programs offered by Strunk.

 

Standard Reports Available in ODP Manager

Strunk’s ODP Manager hosted software includes a standard suite of reports that summarize the information from the most recent extract file imported. These reports can be used by management and by daily users to analyze ODP Program performance and assist with program compliance.

The Summary Report includes totals for overdrawn and not overdrawn accounts, number of accounts by ODP Status Codes, and recommended totals for overdrawn accounts reserve by branch and product. A trend graph displays the accounts with limit, the used commitment, and aggregate privilege over time. NSF and OD Fees and Refunds are also displayed in bar charts. Additional overdrawn account information and reserve information is summarized in the Overdraft Detail Report and the Overdraft Aging Report.

The Overdraft Aging and New Accounts Reports show individual accounts that should be reviewed daily to determine the assignment and removal of overdraft limits. The Fresh Start Tracking Report allows users to monitor accounts with Fresh Start Repayment Plans. The Letters Printed YTD report allows your institution to track the total number of letters and which letter templates are generated by month and year.

The Status Tracking and Heavy OD Users Reports show accounts that do not currently have overdraft limits assigned. These accounts should be reviewed at least quarterly to determine if the accounts now meet the qualifying criteria to be assigned an OD Limit. Consistent review of these accounts will help maintain a high percentage of eligible accounts in the Overdraft Privilege Program.

The Utilization Analysis, Opt-In Impact Analysis, and LOC/Sweep Analysis reports focus on performance analysis.  These reports include a Branch Summary and Product Summary table. Monitoring the percent of accounts with overdraft limits and the percent of accounts opted in for Regulation E is very important to maintaining or improving ODP program performance. The LOC/Sweep Analysis Report allows comparison of the number of accounts with ODP to the number of accounts with other options to cover overdrafts, such as lines of credit or sweeps from other deposit accounts.

If you have any questions about reports available in hosted ODP Manager, please contact Strunk Support at support@strunkaccess.com to find out more.

User Administration and User Roles in ODP Manager

Part of effective use of the ODP Manager software is regularly reviewing, maintaining, and updating user records and access.  ODP Manager users can be assigned four different roles for access to different features in the hosted software.

Users who will need to access all software features but will not need to make administrative software setup changes should be assigned ODP User rights. Users with ODP Admin rights are able to perform all the functions performed by ODP Users, but they are also able to add and change users, revert imported files, and make or request software setup updates. Users with ODP Report User rights can access ODP Manager Reports and Account Inquiry. They are not able to generate letters or import the extract file into ODP Manager daily.

For institutions that would like to separate the User Administration function from the rest of the ODP Admin functions, users can be assigned User Admin rights if they need to add or change ODP Manager users. Users that need to be able to revert imported files or make and request other software setup changes should be assigned ODP Manager rights.

ODP Admins or User Admins can export a list of all users as a PDF or Excel file for reporting purposes. In addition to basic User information, it also includes each user’s assigned role and last login. ODP Admins and User Admins are also able to view and export logs of user changes.

If users no longer need access to ODP Manager, a user’s rights can be updated by an ODP Admin or User Admin to remove the assigned ODP Admin, ODP Manager, ODP User, ODP Report User, or User Admin role. If the user is no longer employed by the financial institution, updating the user’s status to Former Employee will remove the individual’s access without having to remove the user’s access rights.

If you have any questions about User Administration or User Roles in hosted ODP Manager, please contact Strunk Support at support@strunkaccess.com to find out more.

Is it Time to Rethink Free Checking?

The banking industry has lost nearly $20B in service charge income over the past 15 years and it has affected banks across the country regardless of size. Free Checking was offered by most every bank between 1990 and 2020 but now fewer banks give away anything for free. Why should they? What other service provider gives anything away for free?

In the early 1990s banks offered overdraft payment programs that provided a much needed customer service while increasing the bottom line at the same time. When checks were the primary source of payment no one wanted their overdrawn check sent back to the merchant. Free Checking flourished and banks still made a profit.

Then came debit cards. The regulators jumped (for a good reason) and protected consumers from overdraft fees unless the consumer consented to the debit card caused overdraft. Some people opted in and others just had their debit card denied at the point of sale to avoid overdrawing their account.

Now the CFPB wants to curtail what a bank can charge for an overdraft…equal to what it costs a bank to process the item. President Biden refers to these as “junk fees” and wants the regulators to significantly reduce them. So, why would a bank continue to offer Free Checking now as new government proposed regulations will curtail service charge income even more? Banking has changed and we need to change our product offerings as well.

Strunk’s Secure Checking program will generate significant amounts of service charge income while keeping free checking for those customers who want it. Since 2011, over 1,200 banks have offered the benefits added checking account to their offerings. You can expect income to go up by at least $50 per checking account per year. The program is easy to implement and easy to manage.

Contact Strunk at 800.728.3116 or email at info@strunkaccess.com to learn more about fee income programs offered by Strunk. You will be glad you did.

 

Over Pricing Your Largest Most Profitable Customers

One of the biggest mistakes many FIs make when setting pricing strategy is to establish a ‘base lending rate’. Often this ‘base rate’ is applied regardless of the type, size, or term of the loan, and worse, is often set to Prime. For example, when considering a five-year fixed rate on a commercial real estate loan, from time to time we come across a client or prospect that applies their ‘base rate’ of Prime which today would be 8.5%. The problem with that approach is we are ignoring a fundamental principle of finance – we’re ignoring interest rate risk and the term structure of rates.

The Prime lending rate is an overnight rate – technically Prime can change any day. Obviously a 5-year rate is a much longer-term rate. Comparing Prime to a five-year fixed rate is really comparing apples and oranges. Let’s dig into this a little further. Today, Prime is 8.5% and a five-year fixed rate advance from the FHLB is 4.25% – a difference of 4.25%. In February of 2022 Prime was 3.25% and a five-year FHLB advance was 2.25% – a difference of only 1.00%. In February of 2020 Prime was 4.75% and a five-year FHLB advance was 1.50% – a difference of 3.25%. And in February of 2018 Prime was 4.50% and a five-year FHLB advance was 3.00% – a difference of only 1.50%. As you can see, the relationship between five-year rates and Prime is highly inconsistent. Over the past 6 years Prime has been as much as 4.25% and as little as 1.00% above a five-year rate. So, we have to ask ourselves, why would I tie the rate on a five-year fixed rate loan to Prime?

The other challenge this practice can lead to in the current environment is over-pricing some of our largest, most profitable customers or prospects – which could lead to losing existing relationships or get in the way of winning new relationships. We model loan scenarios for FIs all across the country many times each day so we see a large number of loan opportunities and how they are being priced in the market. Particularly on larger deals – say $1,500,000 and above – we often see rates in the mid to low 7% range. However, we also see rates as high as 8.5% on the exact same scenarios – particularly when the FI currently follows the ‘base lending rate’ philosophy. One of the ways Pricing Manager can help your FI earn more net interest income is by helping win more larger, profitable deals by pricing more competitively.

If you would like to learn more about Pricing Manager, please contact Strunk at info@strunkaccess.com or 800-728-3116.

Strunk Response to January 2024 CFPB Proposed Changes to Overdraft Fees

In mid-January of this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a new rule to restrict overdraft fees charged by very large financial institutions (Those with assets over $10B). View the PDF of the Proposed Rule with Request for Comment here:

https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_overdraft-credit-very-large-financial-institutions_proposed-rule_2024-01.pdf

When the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System first adopted Regulation Z in 1969, it excepted from Regulation Z’s definition of finance charge any charges for honoring checks that overdraw a checking account unless the payment of the check and imposition of the fee were previously agreed upon in writing. The Board subsequently made “minor editorial changes” to this exception, (e.g., to reflect “items that are similar to checks), such as negotiable orders of withdrawal. Under the new proposed rule, Regulation Z would generally apply to overdraft credit provided by very large institutions unless it is provided at or below costs and losses as a courtesy to consumers.

The proposed rule would accomplish this by updating two regulatory exceptions from the statutory definition of finance charge. First, the proposal would update an exception that currently provides that a charge for overdraft is not a finance charge if the financial institution has not previously agreed in writing to pay items that overdraw an account so that the exception would not apply to “above breakeven overdraft credit”. Second, the proposal would update a related exception that provides that a charge imposed in connection with an overdraft credit feature (e.g., a charge for each item that results in an overdraft) is not a finance charge if the charge does not exceed the charge for a similar transaction account without a credit feature (e.g., the charge for returning each item). The CFPB has provided two options to very large financial institutions to determine whether an overdraft charge is considered above breakeven overdraft credit. A financial institution may calculate its own “breakeven standard,” charging a fee required to cover losses and direct costs related to the provision of courtesy overdrafts; or a financial institution may use a “benchmark fee” of either $3, $6, $7, or $14, determined by the CFPB by analyzing charge-off losses and cost data.

The proposed rule represents a pivotal development in consumer finance regulation and would have a negative impact on the financial industry and consumers. Overdraft protection has been beneficial to millions of consumers since its inception. Research supports the fact that consumers who use overdraft protection, especially those who use it frequently, value the service. Even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) research supports this fact. Furthermore, the CFPB has access to consumer complaint data in its own database, showing that complaints regarding overdraft protection and fees are extremely low. Strunk believes that a regulatory agency essentially setting limits on fees that can be charged by a financial institution sets a very dangerous precedent.

At present, the proposal pertains to financial institutions under the CFPB’s jurisdiction – those with assets over $10 billion. It is unclear what the impact will be on institutions with assets of $10B and below. However, if this proposal is enacted, the possibility exists that it will be adopted by other regulatory bodies. Also, regardless of additional regulatory action, all institutions may feel “competitive pressure” to follow the standard set by the very large financial institutions.

For now, no changes to existing overdraft programs should be made prior to knowing exactly how this process will play out. When discussing Overdraft Privilege and the current regulatory landscape, Strunk always emphasizes two things:

  1. If you charge a sustained or continuous overdraft fee today, discontinue this practice immediately. Strunk has never endorsed that practice, and it is a flash point for regulators.
  2.  If you charge re-presentment OD fees, discontinue this practice as well and investigate the 24-month look-back restitution to consumers. This is an area where regulators have come out with clear guidance in the last 18 months and Strunk has previously issued recommendations to clients.

If your organization has questions regarding this matter or would like to schedule time to discuss, please contact us at support@strunkaccess.com or 800-728-3116.

Repayment Plan Management from Beginning to End

A Fresh Start Repayment Plan is a tool available to overdrawn customers that will allow them to repay the overdrawn balance in up to four payments and will also allow them to retain the use of their checking account. It also may help financial institutions recover and collect on accounts which may have otherwise charged off.

Included with Strunk’s hosted ODP Manager software, financial institutions have access to Strunk’s library of Fresh Start documentation. The library contains a Fresh Start Profile that addresses recommended features and optional considerations, a recommended Fresh Start Policy and Procedure Guidelines, a suggested Assessment template to determine Account holder’s ability to repay the Fresh Start Repayment Plan, and a recommended Fresh Start Agreement. These documents provide the necessary information to start offering and setting up Fresh Start Repayment Plans.

ODP Manager Formal Demand and Final Demand collection letters advise customers overdrawn for more than $100 to ask if a Fresh Start might be an option to repay the overdrawn balance in 4 payments or less. Once a customer contacts the institution, an assessment should be completed to confirm the customer’s ability to repay the Fresh Start Repayment Plan.

If a customer qualifies and accepts the Repayment Plan, ODP Manager users can enter a repayment schedule for each account. The repayment schedule can be used to generate the Fresh Start Agreement to be signed by the customer. It will also create payment reminders to show when a repayment should be due. The payment should be verified in the core system and then tracked in the repayment schedule once paid. If the account defaults on the repayment plan, the Fresh Start Default Letter can be generated in ODP Manager to inform the customer that the account has been closed, charged off, and reported to the appropriate agencies.

ODP Manager offers two reports related to Repayment Plans. The Fresh Start Tracking Report lists all accounts that have been identified as being in repayment by an ODP Status Code. A Repayment Schedules summary report can also be used to track the status of Fresh Starts, including payments made and outstanding balances. Both report options can be exported to PDF or Excel.

If you have any questions about Fresh Start Repayment Plan options in hosted ODP Manager, please contact Strunk Support at support@strunkaccess.com to find out more.