Credit unions have long highlighted their affordable loans and low interest rates.
While that’s appealing to many consumers, it’s not always what brings them in the door, according to CU Awareness, LLC Executive Director Christopher Lorence, who participated in a financial well-being panel Monday at the 2023 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Orlando.
“The data tells us how consumers are actually looking at credit unions,” says Lorence, noting that the first thing consumers search for is credit unions located within 10 miles of them. “The second thing they look at is financial counseling.”
Consumers are looking for financial education they didn’t get in high school, such as how to save for a house or how many credit cards to have, Lorence says. Credit union websites and marketing content should reflect that.
It starts with knowing the members.
“The only way you’re going to know is by asking,” says Amy McGraw, vice president of marketing and chief experience officer at $1 billion asset Tropical Financial Credit Union in Miramar, Fla. “If you don’t know where they started and what their journey is, you can’t optimize it. Help people get beyond the everyday stress of money so they can focus on what’s important in their lives. We do that through financial coaching.”
Once a credit union knows who its members are, they can target that audience.
“Ask your marketing team, ‘Who’s our website for?’” Lorence says. “Because how can you market something if your website isn't specified for who the audience is? You’ve got to be specific.”
Not only should credit unions appeal to the questions that consumers want answered, they should also make it easy for members to join the credit union and find the financial education they need.
The easier it is for members to find, the easier it is for them to improve their financial health, and the more the credit union movement fulfills its mission of financial well-being for all. Technology has only created more ways for credit unions to reach their members and tell their story.
“We should be talking about the impact you all have in everyone’s lives,” says Mike Schenk, CUNA chief economist and deputy chief advocacy officer for policy analysis. He suggests the first step credit union marketers should take to improve financial well-being for all is, “Measure something. It doesn’t matter what it is to begin with. You’ll find out if it’s a good metric or not, then you can come up with different measures. So, measure something, track it, and then report it to the world.”
The credit union movement has plenty of financial well-being for all-related data to report, with Schenk pointing out that CUNA’s annual voter survey found that:
National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland says that credit unions can continue to foster that trust by being partners who are there to help members solve their money problems.
“We’re a human-centered business, we serve humans, so think about who your members are right now,” she says. “Who are they? And what do they need? I don’t go to a credit union to look for products and services, I go to a credit union to solve a money problem. That’s where it starts.”