Bank Transfer Day: One Year Later

CUs are on track to add 2.3 million members in 2012.

October 17, 2012

“We’ve seen some very good numbers in the 12 months following Bank Transfer Day last Nov. 5,” says Ryan Zilker, B2B marketing manager for CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Zilker spoke Tuesday to attendees of the CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council annual conferences held concurrently in Las Vegas.

“We’re on track to add 2.3 million members in 2012, and a lot of that growth can be traced back to Bank Transfer Day and related events,” says Zilker. “One of the challenges of that growth is that most consumers think of banking as a maintenance activity and credit unions need to turn it into an enhancement activity.

“Credit unions also must deal with the fact that most consumers think of switching financial institutions as a very intimidating task, and consumers have to reach a high pain threshold before they’ll switch,” says Zilker.

“As an industry, we need to simplify the complexity of switching financial institutions,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot a credit union switch kits, but none of them simplifies the process to a large degree. It’s still an intimidating undertaking, and most consumers just won’t do it.

“Our consumer research tells us that--in consumers’ eyes--credit unions are essentially invisible, the credit union brand is flawed, and banks have perceived advantages in convenience and technology,” Zilker says. “More than half [58%] of consumers responding to our survey said they weren’t sure if nonmembers could join credit unions.

“Nonmembers say credit unions’ strongest attribute is their community involvement,” says Zilker. “While admirable, that attribute doesn’t match up with what nonmembers say is important for convincing them to switch financial institutions. Nonmembers say ‘online banking’ and ‘convenient ATMs’ are the two most important factors to get them to switch institutions.

“Basically, people want a branch at the end of their driveway and they want to trip over an ATM on their way to that branch.”