‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’

Ending a relationship can be painful, even if it’s with a bank.

December 11, 2011

It’s difficult to end a relationship. Breakups can be painful. People who avoid conflict often limp along in unhealthy relationships until they reach a certain pain threshold, and then they say, “Enough is enough, I’m moving on.”

And so it is with thousands of consumers and their banks. Many consumers knew they were in unhealthy relationships but they hadn’t reached that pain threshold until some megabanks decided to charge monthly debit card fees.

Consumers were outraged. Banks tried to shift the blame to Congress for reducing debit card fee income, but it didn’t work.

The consumer backlash caused banks to back down. The Facebook-fueled Bank Transfer Day got banks thinking they had awakened a sleeping giant. Because banks backed off their fee plans, many consumers chose to stay in those unhealthy relationships, which is sad.

But thousands of consumers decided enough was enough. They broke off their bank relationships—as painful as it was—and moved on.

Today, they’re healthier. They’re credit union members. The healing has started.

The buzz in the exhibit hall and break-out sessions at the Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery Conference in October was all about how important it will be for credit unions to have seamless, online account-opening processes in place for this wave of new members.

The wave hit last month with Bank Transfer Day, but credit union marketing campaigns should be able to keep the momentum going well into 2012.

This month’s feature articles will help your credit union sustain that membership-growth momentum. Our cover story presents effective membership-growth strategies and tactics for overcoming consumers’ lack of awareness of credit unions (“Anyone fed up with banks?”).

Another article provides strategies for attracting younger members and strengthening your credit union’s prospects for future loan growth (“In search of Gen Y”).

STEVE RODGERS is editor of Credit Union Magazine.