Focus Groups Helped Drive 1 Cent Overdraft Fee

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Coastal FCU here is charging a penny for members' thoughts.

In this case, it's a one-cent overdraft fee the credit union has put in effect for any member who corrects the insufficient funds in an account before 11 p.m. the same day they overdraft, or their account balances are not more than $10 in the red. Accounts that are more than $10 overdrawn after 11 p.m. will be charged the standard $28 fee.

Members who opt-in to the CU's overdraft program, called Bounce Guard Plus, are being covered for all transactions, while those who do not only will be eligible for check and ACH transactions. Marking Communications Manager Joe Mecca told Credit Union Journal the new policy is intended to be a permanent change.

"When we were preparing for our Reg. E compliance and working out what our program would look like, we pulled members into a couple of focus groups," Mecca explained.

The consensus from these light-to-heavy overdraft users was that members should be given the opportunity to correct mistakes and not be charged heavy penalties for small overdrafts. After hearing from members, Coastal wrote a quick program and plugged it into its core system.

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