WASHINGTON (12/10/15)--As spending hits its holiday peak this year, credit unions can use the opportunity to educate and prepare members for savings and budgeting going forward, CUNA Chief Policy Officer Bill Hampel said. Speaking to CU Broadcast, Hampel shared information from CUNA’s 16th annual Holiday Spending Survey, conducted with the Consumer Federation of America.
“This holiday season is a little weird. The economy’s doing well, but consumers told us they’re not going to increase their spending nearly as much as they did last year,” Hampel said. “We think holiday spending will rise by about 3% this year, last year it rose about 3.5%.”He noted that while the economy is doing well, boom-time highs for holiday spending are yet to return.
One reason for the spending lag, Hampel said, is that during this last economic downturn some people were unemployed “for a really long time.”
Hampel went on to say, that it served consumers better to borrow from credit unions, where they can save money through better rates and lower fees.
He also added that credit unions can help answer member questions and advise them on ways to sensibly spend money without going to deep into debt.
“Credit unions have more interest in having informed members as opposed to profitable members,” Hampel said, adding that credit unions should be prepared to assist their members in January and February as well. “Credit unions should, starting in January and February, start encouraging members to set up savings plans for next year’s holiday season… if a credit unions is offering advice, some members will take advantage and do well by it.”
See the video below for Hampel’s full interview.