SEATTLE-During NAFCU's Annual Conference in Seattle, ESL Federal Credit Union CEO William "Tim" Pryor advised credit unions on how to save money and maintain compliance using electronic statements. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) of 2000 gave electronic contracts have the same weight as paper ones. ESL took quick advantage of this and began providing members, upon their consent, with e-statements. Most of the audience said they were in the planning process of offering this service also. To begin issuing e-statements, the credit unions must receive affirmative consent from the member that it is their chosen method of retrieving their information, Pryor said. However, the statements must also be available on hard copy if requested. ESL has approximately 8,500 members participating, adding up to substantial savings in paper, postage, and manpower. E-statements can consist of sending the member either their statement electronically or a notice stating that the information is available on the institution's Web site. Receipt acknowledgement from the member is not necessary, Pryor said. After giving consent, members also have to know how and be able to withdraw it, as well as how to update their e-mail address and get a paper copy. ESL's Web site asks members every four or five times they visit if their e-mail address is current. While Pryor admits it may be an annoyance, it helps to ensure that the credit union's database is accurate and aids the credit union in demonstrating that it made reasonable efforts to capture updated information if a statement is returned as undeliverable. Pryor commented that the regulations governing electronic contracts-Regs E, B, M, Z, and DD-are all still interim final rules, probably because the Federal Reserve is coming to the understanding that there is no reliable way to capture the member's e-mail address while maintaining privacy. The credit union must also make members aware of the hardware and software requirements; have the member show they are able to access the information; and inform them of hardware and software changes. The law does not have any formatting requirements, he explained. Credit unions may also deliver Truth in Savings Act disclosures, changes in terms, and other documents electronically, Pryor told conference attendees. -firstname.lastname@example.org
The bottomline: e-statements can save credit unions money
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