Credit Unions and Presorted Mail Strategies

Apr 30, 2021

There’s more than one way to presort mail. And, depending on how it’s done, it could change a lot about how far your postage dollars go… and how quickly your documents get to their destination!

In this article, we’ll take a quick dive into the world of presorted mail for credit unions. We hope it shows how different methods can affect your bottom line.

A Quick Overview of Presorting


Presorting means that outgoing mail is sorted and organized to USPS specifications before it’s delivered to the post office. Presorting qualifies mail for postage discounts based on service level, mail size/shape, and weight. To realize maximize postage discounts the mail must be sorted, prepared and submitted in First-Class Mail Automation format.

Most credit unions expect their statement vendor will process their mail efficiently and economically. However, not all strategies are alike. In fact, some save more money and are delivered faster and more reliably than others!

The Standard Presort / Letter Shop Process


Most document production and delivery vendors use the same presorting process. It (usually) goes a little like this:

  • All mail-pieces are processed, printed, folded, and inserted into envelopes.
  • Then, they will either:
    • Move those envelopes to another area in their organization to be sorted, or
    • Put the envelopes on a truck and deliver them to a presort bureau.
  • All mail-pieces are then comingled and mechanically presorted and a barcode is sprayed on the outside of the envelope.
  • Finally, the envelopes are delivered to the USPS.

This process works well and results in quite a bit of postage savings. However, it’s not without its faults:

First, mechanical presorting is error prone. Sometimes, the machines that presort the mail are unable to accurately OCR (Optical Character Recognition) read the envelope correctly, or something else goes wrong. A small percentage of mechanically presorted mail is sorted incorrectly and gets returned.

Second, mechanical presorting costs money. In addition to the actual postage that the presorting qualifies the mail for, credit unions must pay per piece for presorting service. It’s not much—usually 1 to four cents, —but that adds up quickly!

Third, mechanical presorting is slower. Surprisingly often, the process adds a day onto the delivery times of financial mail-pieces. (This “extra step” requires additional delivery time to and from the presort bureau, plus sorting time.)

The Digital Presorting Process


XDI takes a much different approach to presorting its mail-pieces. There is no mechanical presorting required:

  • All mail-pieces are processed and digitally presorted before anything is ever printed.
  • Then, mail-pieces are printed, folded, inserted into envelopes, and loaded into mail trays in the USPS prescribed order.
  • The barcoded containers, trays and mail-pieces are electronically reported to the USPS through their PostalOne® system and then delivered to the USPS where their systems have planned and prepared for those specific mail-pieces.

This simplified, digital presort process notably improves on the weaknesses of mechanical presorting:

Digitally presorted mail is not error-prone. No need to worry about the machine making mistakes. Accordingly, your mail will experience higher deliverability.

Digital presorting costs nothing extra. Without machine upkeep or labor to cover, digital presorting turns all postage into a true pass-through cost, saving money.

Digital presorting is faster. Because all documents are printed and loaded in order, they can go immediately to USPS for delivery. Often, this cuts a day off the time your members’ mail takes to reach them.

Taking it a Step Further


XDI uses two different methodologies, because one size does not necessarily fit all. Credit unions typically have two vastly different sets of requirements for their member communications. The everyday notices and letters that tend to be smaller in volume, as compared to the periodic statements and tax forms which are processed in much larger volumes.

Daily/weekly lower volume documents are prepared by combining XDI’s credit union clients (collectively serving nearly 19 million members) documents. This allows XDI to leverage the volumes produced so clients can appreciate maximum postage savings. For the larger runs (such as statements) where there is no additional postage or process efficiency savings possible, XDI streamlines the processing to get important (sometimes Reg Z requirements) documents in the mail without delay.

Click here to learn more about how we can improve your credit union’s bottom line!

Or learn about our eStatement conversion campaign ideas here.

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