MADISON, Wis. (4/24/14)--The quest for primary financial institution (PFI) status that credit unions covet with their members is dependent on a few "sticky" products that blend convenience with necessity. Until recently, online banking was a surefire loyalty builder. Now, mobile banking appears to be gaining ground, according to 2013-2014 CUNA Member and Nonmember Survey results.
"Nearly 50% of credit union members used their credit union's online banking options in 2013--up from 32% four years earlier," wrote John Haller, the Credit Union National Association's director of corporate and market research, in the April CUNA E-Scan research report. And among the much-coveted segment of young adult members ages 18 to 34, that figure is 65%. But online banking's influence is likely waning. Recent trends suggest using online banking to build stronger financial ties between member and credit union is no longer a "sure thing."
Credit union members are banking with multiple financial service providers, and online banking only gets one tab on the member's Web browser, making it less likely than in the past that members choose credit unions as their primary financial institution, Haller writes.
Mobile banking might be more likely to attract PFI status, however. Member usage of mobile banking at credit unions more than doubled--to 18% in 2013 from 8% in 2011, CUNA research showed. Reach among members ages 18 to 34 is even higher at 30%. Notably, fewer members who use mobile banking at their credit union also use it with a bank.