Age and Awareness

The disturbing truth: 69% of nonmembers age 18 to 24 know very little about CUs.

May 15, 2011

That crunching sound you hear is our researchers processing data from CUNA’s latest surveys of members and nonmembers. Every other year, CUNA undertakes two major research projects—the National Member Survey and the Survey of Potential Members.

CUNA asks thousands of members about their use of financial products and services, their level of loyalty, loan and savings balances, ethnicity, age, delivery channel preferences, and a wealth of other questions.

CUNA also asks thousands of nonmembers about their familiarity with credit unions, why they don’t belong to credit unions, what might convince them to join, and many of the same questions we ask members.

Last month I presented preliminary findings from these surveys to the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Credit Union Leagues’ spring volunteer development conference. Some findings were greeted with smiles and nods of affirmation. Others were met with wide-eyed alarm.

Findings from the latter category:

  • About 37% of nonmembers have no idea what credit unions area—a significant jump from the 24% of nonmembers who were “not at all familiar" with credit unions in 2006;
  • Young nonmembers know the least about credit unions. A disturbing 69% of nonmembers age 18 to 24 know little about credit unions. No other age group of nonmembers came close to matching this group for lack of familiarity;
  • About 60% of members have no outstanding credit union loans;
  • The average age of credit union members is 47. The average age of Hispanic Americans is 27; and
  • Between 2000 and 2010, the nation’s non-Hispanic white population grew 1.2% while the Hispanic population grew 43%.

Needless to say, credit unions have some age and awareness problems. Be sure to use these two major research reports (available in June) and your own research to address these and other urgent challenges.

Coming soon to Credit Union Magazine:

  • CUNA’s E-Scan. This report outlines challenges facing CUs from a variety of perspectives.
  • Life After the CARD Act How will this legislation affect CUs’ plastic offerings?
  • Credit Card Profitability. These tools and best practices ensure CUs have profitable credit card portfolios.
  • CU Payment Strategies. A plethora of new payment technologies—apps, RFID, tap technologies—gives CUs and consumers options to plastic.
  • National Member Survey. What do members use their CUs for? How often do they use them? Where else are they going?
  • Loan Delinquencies. CUs’ financial picture is improving, but loan delinquencies.