The Real Story About Bank Transfer Day

CUs attracted young members and built a strong branding foundation.

November 14, 2011

"The real story about Bank Transfer Day, according to Bill Hampel, CUNA’s chief economist, isn’t “asset growth, but membership growth and the new, mostly young members that credit unions have now gained."
Attracting younger members has been a topic of concern for years among credit unions. Bank Transfer Day—which reached well in excess of 60,000 consumers through its Facebook page alone—was in large part speaking directly to the younger adult crowd.
Around 650,000 new members transferred a total of $4.5 billion in funds into new credit union savings accounts in the month leading up to Bank Transfer Day. An estimated 80% of credit unions saw their membership increase in October.

Bank Transfer Day could drive the credit union system over $1 trillion in total assets, Hampel says.

Since Sept. 29, California-based credit unions have seen the biggest gains, bringing in an estimated 90,000 new members and $624 million in new deposits. Texas credit unions also saw a large surge in new deposits, gaining $326 million in new deposits from 47,000 new members. In total, 21 of 50 states and the District of Columbia have seen membership increases of 10,000 or more in the past month.
More consumers than ever heard the message that credit unions generally offer higher rates on savings, lower rates on loans, and lower fees than the megabanks. “This gives credit unions an incredibly strong new foundation from which to launch future branding campaign,” notes Mark Wolff, CUNA’s senior vice president of communications.

The nationwide publicity also gave credit unions the opportunity to bust some myths about the member-owned cooperative model and clarify their message.

And one of Bank Transfer Day's longest lasting legacies will unfold, Hampel says, as those new members relate their positive credit union experiences to their friends and families, creating even more new members, he added.