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Five Benefits of “Positive Pay” Services

Five Benefits of Positive Pay Services

There are more than five benefits of Positive Pay services to your business customers. But in this blog, we focus on the top reasons community banks and credit unions must offer this important service. Let’s start by defining what is the Positive Pay service.

What is Positive Pay?

Simply put, Positive Pay is like the fire insurance on your home you hope you never have to use. For businesses, it’s their assurance that only the checks they write and only Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions they initiate will be paid by their institutions. Any checks or ACH transactions not authorized by the company return unpaid. The financial institution then files a “Suspicious Activity Report” (SAR) to alert government officials about the fraudulent transactions.

Technically, the business uploads a file with the list of checks to the financial institution. The institution matches items clearing against the authorized list and alerts the business of any discrepancies. The business then decides which items to pay or return. That is Regular Check Positive Pay. The Reversed Positive Pay, the institution initiates the list of items clearing that day. The business then tells the institution which ones to pay or return.

Below are five benefits of “Positive Pay” services and how they benefit both the businesses and institutions:

Check and ACH fraud is significantly lower.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an alert to financial institutions in February 2023 about the alarming increase of “mail theft-related check fraud.” (FIN-2023-Allert003) Financial institutions must be vigilant in identifying and reporting any activity related to check fraud. And it’s happening the old fashion way—checks stolen from the U.S. Mail!

In talking with our clients, they are also experiencing an increase in fraudulent ACH transactions. The good news is that there is help! Financial institutions can offer the Positive Pay and ACH Positive Pay services for businesses to protect them from both check and ACH fraud.

Positive Pay protects both the businesses as well as the financial institutions.

As one can imagine, implementing this service on business checking accounts can save businesses millions of dollars. In addition, one fraudulent transaction can cost a business a monumental amount of time researching and closing old accounts. Once a business experiences fraud, the institutions require them to close the affected accounts and open new ones. This creates a huge amount of work for both the business and the institution. Implementing Check and ACH Positive Pay services on the main business operating account always pays off.

Increased internal controls for businesses.

A bank client once shared that a business customer used to “pre-sign” checks and leave them with his bookkeeper. During his vacation, the owner called the bookkeeper and asked her to issue a check as a matter of urgency. The bookkeeper happened to also be out of the office. She asked her assistant to “go to her desk and open the drawer where she would find several pre-signed checks.” The bookkeeper’s assistant issued the urgent check as requested. But she also issued a check payable to herself for $3,500.00!

When the check cleared and the customer found out about the fraudulent check, he contacted the bank in a panic. Guess what? The bank was not liable for this fraud and the customer had to absorb the entire loss. The bank offered this business customer the Positive Pay service and he declined it. The business owner pre-signed a legitimate check. Therefore, although the check was not fraudulent, the employee committee check fraud. If this customer had Positive Pay, he would have found out the very next morning and the check would not have been cashed. Small Businesses are notorious for not having internal controls in place and Positive Pay forces them to implement minimal controls.

Increased non-interest fee income for financial institutions.

Financial institutions are starving for additional non-interest income and Treasury Management (TM) services precisely bring that! Positive Pay is one of many TM services that businesses can benefit from. But all these services cost money to implement and to support. Therefore, institutions should charge business customers appropriately. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most community banks and credit unions give it away for free. They should ask their business customers if they give away some of their products to their customers. I guarantee they would say “no, of course not”!

An opportunity for financial institutions to partner with businesses in the fight against crime.

The goal for business bankers should be to become partners with their business customers. Community banks and credit unions have an incredible opportunity to do so by offering Treasury Management services to their business customers. However, bankers must receive training to understand and value each service that helps businesses succeed. TM services allow businesses to accelerate their receivables, control their disbursements optimizing their cash flow management. In addition, TM services like Positive Pay protects businesses from losing money and time due to check and ACH fraud.

There are more than five benefits of “Positive Pay” services  to business customers. I hope these top five benefits encourage your institution to share the value of Positive Pay with your business clients. They will then consider you a valuable partner in their business.

Looking for ideas to expand your Treasury Management reach to new business customers? Look into the TMClarity Framework, our comprehensive and transformative training and Treasury Management business management system that leads to greater sales success, higher margins, and increased customer retention in a competitive marketplace.

LinkedIn Posts for the Banker

LinkedIn for the Banker

Looking to generate more business leads for your Treasury Management services? Many of our clients are looking for ways to add more businesses to their sales pipelines and one of the easiest ways is to use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business-focused, professional social networking app and many of your prospects are using it. Today, we’ll visit some tips on using LinkedIn posts for the Banker.

Say Something Relevant

First, what do you want to say? Posting something relevant to your prospective business customers is important and coming up with something interesting can be challenging. However, when the idea strikes, we recommend putting the idea through a content filter. A “content filter” guides your posts to be relevant to the people you want to talk to.

For instance, at Malzahn Strategic, our content filter is: Deliver Value, Educate, Inform, Entertain, and Give the Reader a Reason to Take Action.

If you don’t have a content filter set up for your organization, we recommend you speak with your marketing team to develop these guidelines and then share them among those who post to social media.

Once you have your topic and have run it through your content filter, write the post in Word so you can verify spelling and check for grammatical issues. If you are stuck with a sentence and can’t quite make it sound right, using an AI based re-writer might be useful. ChatGPT and Copy.AI are two re-writers we have regularly used when we get “stuck”.

Once written, make sure your post is less than 3,000 characters. This is LinkedIn’s limit on posts.

Some organizations may require employees run their posts through a review process before posting. If you need to do that, get your post approved.

Post Your Post

Once you are ready to post your information, consider adding a photo or infographic to emphasize or confirm your content. You can easily create an infographic in PowerPoint or have your marketing person help you out in formatting a photo for LinkedIn. There are specific sizes for LinkedIn photos/infographics: 1200 x 627 72dpi or 1080 x 1080 72dpi are the two we recommend. Anything else and LinkedIn tends to crop with undesirable results.

If you wish to add a video to your post, we recommend a resolution of 1920 x 1920 (square). You should also have a preview image created to match your video 1920 x 1920 72dpi. If you don’t use a preview image, LinkedIn will pick the most awkward part of your video to use for a preview. We also recommend no fade-ins or fade-outs for your video. Get to the point and don’t waste valuable seconds on a fade.

Now, post your post.

Posting Tips

Here are some things we’ve learned over the years to improve your posts:

  • Post should have, but don’t need, an accompanying video, photo, or infographic.
  • The first 3 lines are visible on the LinkedIn feed, so make those three lines your point. Get to the point at the top, then elaborate on it later.
  • Write concise posts using your organizations’ content filter.
  • No Selling in posts – it just annoys prospects. You can do that when you talk to a prospect.
  • Work with your marketing or graphic design staff to make your photos, videos, or infographics informative and compelling. Professionalism is important on LinkedIn.
  • If your post is important and you want more folks to see it, consider boosting the post for a fee. We’ve seen where $500 spent on a boost can give the post good visibility.
  • Looking for free stock photos? Unsplash is a place to start. Your marketing folks might also have a corporate stock photo subscription (Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, etc.) you can take advantage of.
  • Pick three hashtags for each post and place them at the bottom of your post. One hashtag is your business primary hashtag and goes on every post, the second one refers to the main topic of your post and the third for the secondary topic of your post (if you have one).
  • Posting to relevant LinkedIn groups can be a way to get more views if your post is relevant to the group.

Some Daily and Monthly Maintenance

Here are some tips on maintaining your LinkedIn presence.

  • Daily comment on comments. If you get comments on your posts, reply to the comment to keep the conversation going.
  • Daily ask others to follow your organization’s LinkedIn page. If your organization doesn’t have a LinkedIn page, push to get one created.
  • Daily comment on other posts. Again, use your “content filter” to make sure you are making the right comment.
  • Monthly review stats on your posts to see what is working. After a few months, you’ll start to see a pattern of content that works, and content that doesn’t work.

More Resources on Lead Generation

Book: Revenue Growth Engine by Darrell Amy. He has a free audio version available for listening any time.

Book: Outbounding by William “Skip” Miller.

If you made it this far, please follow Malzahn Strategic on Linkedin! We aren’t spammy and post relevant information for the banking industry. Remember our content filter above? We stick to it.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for getting prospects into your Treasury Management pipeline. If your institution is struggling with getting your Treasury Management department up and running or need help with selling Treasury Management services to business customers, we’re here to help.

Looking for ideas to expand your Treasury Management reach to new business customers? Look into the TMClarity Framework, our comprehensive and transformative training and Treasury Management business management system that leads to greater sales success, higher margins, and increased customer retention in a competitive marketplace.


Books by Marcia Malzahn