Summer is a popular time for weddings. The joining of lives, homes, and bills. It’s that last one that can cause marital discord right from day one.
According to CreditCards.com, approximately 7.2 million Americans have hidden bank or credit card accounts from their live-in spouse or partner. Coming clean to a spouse about hidden debt can be very hard, but it doesn’t have to lead to divorce.
Your institution can make it easier on couples wanting to come clean by merging households and accounts together. A few weeks ago we wrote about how to split a household if the partnership dissolves.
But what are the benefits to merging households? Are there any, or is it an antiquated notion to merge debt between two partners?
We’ve thought of three reasons merging accounts would be beneficial to your customers.
1. Access to Accounts
One big benefit of merging households and accounts is so if one of the partners becomes sick or incapacitated, the other partner can still have access to that account to pay bills, talk to customer support, or renegotiate terms. It makes having access to the account easier.
Your institution likely has policies in place that restrict anyone but those listed as account owners from accessing their accounts. This becomes problematic when only one person is listed on the account, and that person becomes incapacitated, and so the partner is left figuring out how to get access to the account.
2. Insurance Payouts
Insurance policies are very much a part of consumer loans. If a borrower signs up for an insurance policy during loan origination and they later get married, it’s a good idea to add the spouse’s name to the account.
For example, if the spouse is injured to the point they are seriously debilitated, the spouse could notify your institution to activate the insurance policy as soon as possible, as would be the case with accident and health insurance. That way, bills aren’t neglected and credit scores aren’t affected. It would also bring peace of mind to the spouse to help rehabilitate their loved one, rather than worrying about bills.
3. Ease of Address Changes
If two people who have different accounts with your institution end up getting married to one another, it would be a heck of a lot easier on everyone to update address changes if the two parties merged households. That way, any time the couple moved, it would only require updating the address on the Households screen for the one household, rather than updating it in two households.
How to Merge Households
We can’t force two people who fall in love to merge accounts and households, but if they take it upon themselves to request it, let CIM GOLD do the heavy lifting.
The following steps explain how to merge households:
1. After logging into CIM GOLD, use the Customer Search Screen to find the first person for whom you will be merging with another person. When you see their HH Number (Household number), write it down.
2. Now search for the second person and write down their household number as well. See the following example of where to find the HH Number on the Customer Search Screen:
Customer Search Screen
3. While the name is selected on the Customer Search Screen, access the Customer Relationship Management > Household Utilities > Merge screen. The Household number will be displayed at the top of that screen, along with the Names associated with that account. (See 3 in the following figure.)
4. In the Household To Merge field, enter the second household number for which you want to merge with this household. (See 4 in the following figure.)
5. Click <Get Household>. The names attached to that household will be displayed in the second Names tab. (See 5 in the following figure.)
6. Select the name on the first Names tab, and then the name on the second Names tab, then click <Merge>, as shown below.
Customer Relationship Management > Household Utilities > Merge Screen > Names Tab
7. Now click the Addresses tab and select both addresses and click <Merge>. You will need to clean up the addresses later, but we suggest adding both addresses to start with.
8. Click the Accounts tab and select both accounts and click <Merge>. Important: This does not mean both owners are now listed on the accounts. This just means both accounts are maintained in this one household. We’ll clean up the accounts in the next set of steps.
See the Addresses and Accounts merge tabs below:
Merge Screen > Addresses Tab
Merge Screen > Accounts Tab
Clean-Up Names, Addresses, and Accounts
Once you’ve merged households, the next step is to clean up any name, address, and account information. The household number that was listed at the top of the Merge screen is now the new household number for both parties.
If one of the parties changed their name, access the Customer Relationship Management > Households screen for that household, and change the name of the party to the new last name. For example, perhaps Carol changed her last name to Fisher.
Phone numbers and email addresses stay with the person, but you should review all phone numbers and email addresses attached to the person on the Phones and Email tabs of the Households screen to make sure they are still accurate.
Now go to the Accounts tab and select each account and make sure the correct name is displayed, as well as designate the IRS Owner on the account. If the couple do not want to share ownership on accounts, that’s fine. Just make sure the correct names are listed with the correct accounts. When merging, sometimes the second or more accounts are not assigned a person, so you can do that in this step, as shown below:
Customer Relationship Management > Households Screen > Accounts Tab
Note: You can also add additional names and account ownerships if those names exist in the household. This likely won’t happen very often. However, going forward, if new accounts spring up from this household, both names can be included on the deposit or loan account.
On the Addresses tab, if the new address should now be used as the mailing address and physical address on accounts, complete the following steps:
- Select the address that will be the new address for both accounts.
- In the Move To field group, check the following boxes:
- Physical Address
- Mailing Address
- Click <Move>.
The new address will now be the address used for mailing statements to all accounts in this household.
Customer Relationship Management > Households Screen > Addresses Tab