A major client of last year is on hard economic times so I haven't expected, or seen, any shops for them in 2008. They are still an active mystery shopping company. I do check "Illinois" to make sure they are still breathing as there is nothing in my area and has been very little in my state in 2008. I see no changes that would imply that self assign is gone.
They had a similar email about a year ago yet I saw little in the way of bank shops that required you to be a customer or not. I suspect this is more for solicition discussions with potential clients than weeding shoppers for a pending client. But it also serves the purpose of having shoppers update their profiles--which is a productive though time consuming endeavor.
The vast bulk of their available shops were with one client who has cut back staff and expenses greatly in 2008. Otherwise they tend to get very specific jobs for clients and there just hasn't been that much of that this year. They seem to be hanging in there but have had only one shop in my area that I have seen this year and experience told me not to touch that one because it was doomed for failure--although we found a work around to get me paid for it last year.