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Small-dollar Loan -- Pilot Study Results Are In

Posted by Wendell Brock on Wed, Jul 07, 2010

Creation of Safe, Affordable and Feasible Template for Small-Dollar Loans

Small-dollar loan pilot

The Small-dollar Loan Pilot Project was a study to find if it is profitable for banks to offer small-dollar loans to their customers. Small-dollar loans were created as an option to expensive payday loans, or heavy fee-based overdraft programs.  This study opened up opportunities for small-dollar loans to be more affordable.    

Small-dollar loans have created a way to maintain associations with current costumers and opportunities to attract unbanked new customers.

Goals: The main goal the FDIC had in mind for small-dollar loans was for banks to create long-lasting relationships with their customers using the product of small-dollar loans. Many banks had another goal in mind in addition to the FDIC’s goal. Some banks wanted to become more profitable by producing the product while other banks produced the product to create more goodwill in their community. 

Where and how the study started: The FDIC found 28 volunteer banks with total assets from $28 million to nearly $10 billion to use the new product, offering of small-dollar loans. All were found in 450 offices in 27 states. Now, in the pilot study there have been over 34,400 small-dollar loans that represent a balance of $40.2 million. 

Template for small-dollar loans: Loans are given with an amount of $2,500 or less, with a term of 90 days or more. The Annual Percentage Rate is 36 percent or less depending on the circumstances of the borrower. There are little to no fees and, underwriting follows with proof of identity, address, income, and credit report to decide the loan amount and the ability to pay. The loan decision will usually take less than 24 hours. There are also additional optional features of mandatory savings and financial education.  

Long loan term success: Studies found that having a longer loan term increased the amount of success in small-dollar loans. This allowed the customer to recover from any financial emergency by going through a few pay check cycles before it was time to start paying the loan back.  Liberty Bank in New Orleans, Louisiana offered loan terms to 6 months in order to avoid continuously renewed “treadmill” loans.  The pilot decided that a minimum loan term of 90 days would prove to be feasible.

Often the bank will require the customer to place a minimum of ten percent of the loan in a savings account that becomes available when the loan is paid off.

Delinquencies: In 2009 the delinquency rates by quarter for small dollar loans were 6.2 in the fourth, 5.7 in the third, 5.2 in the second, and 4.3 in the first.

How to be most successful when producing small-dollar loans: The FDIC is reporting that the participating banks have found much success through small-dollar loans. But the most success came from long term support from the bank’s board, and the senior management. It is critically important to have strong support coming from senior management.

The small-dollar loan pilot has proven to be a great addition to bank’s loan portfolio, the FDIC hopes that it will spread to banks outside the pilot.

Profitability may depend on location: The FDIC has found the most successful programs are in banks located in communities with a high population of low- and moderate-income, military, or immigrant households. Banks in rural areas that did not have many other financial service providers also saw feasibility because of the low amount of competition.

Improving performance: Automatic repayments are a way to improve performance for all products not just the small-dollar loans.



Topics: Bank, FDIC, banks, Pay Day Loans, Banking, Bank Risks, Small Dollar Loans, Bank Executives, Loans, market opportunity, bank customers, Bank Asset

Grow Remote Deposit Capture

Posted by Wendell Brock on Wed, Mar 17, 2010

Promoting and growing Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) within your institution requires a commitment from top management. The enthusiasm and support system for the RDC Program must radiate from top management all the way through the institution to include the frontline tellers. RDC success includes the following seven elements:

  1.  Perpetual focus and commitment from the top down;
  2.  Ongoing education of employees and customers;
  3.  A central contact person who has taken ownership of the RDC Program with a passion for its success within the organization;
  4.  Consistently applying techniques and ideas outlined in this article;
  5.  Established target goals and an action plan that are reviewed at regular meetings;
  6.  Holding individuals responsible for targeted growth; and
  7.  A marketing and sales program.

Remote Deposit Capture can be known by many different names including: Remote Deposit, Personal Capture, Merchant Capture, or Corporate Capture. What name is your financial institution going to use or are you going to develop a new flashy marketing name? Either way people need to know what it is and how it works to properly implement the service in the bank. We suggest that you stick with the standard Remote Deposit Capture this will avoid confusion when customers call.

Growth of RDC will help keep customers happy, safe and more profitable. RDC is one of the greatest time savers a business could implement in regards to its banking relationship. By not needing to go to the bank to make a deposit keeps employees safe. They can make the deposit in the office, and it saves drive time to the bank and back, (let alone keeping another car off the road, it's good for the environment). So, as banks promote paperless statements - they can also promote green deposits by using RDC.

RDC is the future. Banks that have a good working relationship with its personal and business customers can make it stronger with RDC. Some banks allow customers to use basic scanners to make deposits - not needing any special equipment - makes the process easier and less expensive to implement. Less cost means more profit for both the customer and the bank. As we deal with more and more electronic transactions, will RDC be the standard for old fashion paper checks?  Everything we read and hear, it is moving that direction

To learn more about RDC and ideas about how to grow it in your institution download our FREE white paper by clicking HERE.

Author: Carolyn C. Dowdy, President of Bank Project Solutions

Topics: bank customers, Compliance, Deposit Growth, Deposits, Growth, Grow, Remote Deposit Capture

FDIC’s Unbanked Survey Reveals Key Strategies for Reaching Unbanked Customers

Posted by Wendell Brock on Fri, Feb 06, 2009

The FDIC has just released the results of a national survey pertaining to banks’ efforts to reach unbanked and underbanked individuals and households. This demographic is widely recognized as untapped potential for the banking industry—but industry efforts to move unbanked customers into traditional checking, savings and credit products have not been consistently successful.

The survey, conducted by Dove Consulting, was designed to quantify the efforts of banks to meet the needs of the unbanked/underbanked demographic, to identify the challenges associated with serving this market, and to identify innovative products and services which appeal to this target customer.

Outreach plays pivotal role

More than 25 percent of respondent banks recommended the use of outreach programs to bring unbanked households into the conventional banking system. The bank employees tasked with designing appropriate outreach programs can turn to local employers, labor unions and community organizations to gain deeper insights into the needs and motivations of the targeted group. Alliances with these local organizations can also be leveraged by the bank to build awareness and trust quickly within the community.

Improved access

The traditional bank branch, with its limited hours and relatively formal setting, may be off-putting to this customer demographic. To address these concerns, banks might consider broadening customer access via kiosks, extended hours, web access and phone service. Some banks also reported success with hiring staff members who are fluent in foreign languages.

Specialty products and services

Banks nationwide recognize the importance of the check-cashing service to unbanked customers. Many institutions, unfortunately, are reluctant to take on the risk associated with offering this service. A secondary barrier is the inability for many unbanked individuals to produce acceptable forms of identification.

Money orders, international remittances and bill payment services were also identified as service offerings that would appeal to unbanked individuals. Of the banks that responded to the survey:

•  49 percent offer check-cashing to non-customers.
•  37 percent offer bank checks and money orders to non-customers.
•  6 percent offer international remittances to non-customers (32 percent of respondents cited regulatory concerns as a barrier to offering this service.

Downsized credit products

Entry-level credit products are useful in helping the unbanked individual enter or re-enter the economic mainstream. Prepaid cards and debit-card accounts are two services that often resonate well with this customer segment. Secured credit cards, tax refund anticipation loans and other advances on funds that are due to arrive were also recommend, although these services are not widely offered by mainstream banks.

Banks’ interest in providing these alternate services varies widely. There is a perception that the costs and risks associated with catering to the unbanked group will fall outside the bank’s strategic parameters. The FDIC’s survey did reveal, however, that 77 percent of banks had not conducted any research on the potential unbanked customers in their areas—which could mean that the reluctance to provide tailored products and services to this group is largely based on unproven assumptions.

The FDIC’s survey did not delve specifically into the long term value of the unbanked customer—but it is generally believed that these individuals, once obtained, can be transitioned into conventional banking services over time.

Survey methodology

The surveys were sent out by mail to a nationally representative sample of 1283 banks with brick-and-mortar branches. Six hundred eighty-five surveys were returned; at the time the survey was conducted, the respondent banks represented $8.3 trillion in assets or 70 percent of the total assets within FDIC-insured institutions.

Topics: FDIC, Banking, Unbanked customers, bank customers, survey

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