<p>SAN DIEGO – For North Island Financial CU, the decision to sign up for Deluxe Corp.'s full program of DeluxeSelectT came down to one thing: a way to increase the CU's penetration rate among its more than 183,000 members of NIFCU's share draft services and boost members' use of their share draft accounts without the credit union needing to have staff dedicated to taking check orders from members when they could be spending time involved with other services. Geri Dillingham, executive vice president, retail delivery and corporate planning for the $1.2 billion NIFCU said it boils down to a "staff utilization issue." She said, "We want our members to use our checking accounts. Our primary focus is to get members to open accounts with us, but we don't care about the check design, it isn't our core product. We realize that's something that's important to the member, and DeluxeSelect let's them discuss their options." North Island was one of six credit unions that were invited to participate in Deluxe's April 24th rollout in Chicago, Ill. of DeluxeSelect (CU Times, May 1). The credit union signed up for the full program by May 28. Deluxe Financial Services spokesman Joe Thorton said one other CU had signed up for DeluxeSelect at press time, but he could not release their name. "DeluxeSelect lines up well with where we're heading as a credit union," explained Dillingham. "It's a way for us to add service for our members without having to add people to our call center staff to field calls and inquiries from members." North Island's share draft penetration rate is 65%. New members use an average of 2.5 of the CU's services, and overall all members use an average 2.0 of NIFCU's services. "Do we want our members to open share draft accounts, definitely, and we realize that a member's check design is important to them. But going over check design options takes time, and we'd rather have our new account call center people handling other types of service calls from our members," she admitted. Dillingham said NIFCU's call center typically takes 30,000-40,000 calls a month from members. That's exactly what Deluxe had in mind when it designed DeluxeSelect. The company wanted to turn the check ordering process into a retail shopping experience for check users, instead of it merely being what Michael Baum, director of customer development for Deluxe, called "a non-event and necessary utility for having a checking account." The problem, said Baum, is check designs are typically not merchandised by financials, so account holders aren't aware of the style options they can choose from. This despite the fact that Deluxe's research showed that 70% of consumers prefer having some sort of a design on their checks. Of the two tiers of DeluxeSelect that are available – DeluxeSelect Basic and DeluxeSelect Plus – North Island decided to go with the latter. That means that in addition to using the phone, voice response unit and Web site of NIFCU to direct members to Deluxe and integrating Deluxe's check ordering Web site on to NIFCU's Web site, North Island also receives from Deluxe collateral merchandising material for the credit union to use in its lobby, newsletters and statement stuffers to promote the DeluxeSelect service and to give their check options more visibility. To help members get started using their new share draft accounts, North Island is giving new account holders their first 50 checks at no charge. Members will be able to place reorders at their convenience and with the check design of their choice, using DeluxeSelect. "Deluxe's people have an affinity with check design. It's very personal to them," said Dillingham. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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