Credit unions generally have lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and friendlier fees than banks, not to mention superior service. Year after year, customer satisfaction surveys support these claims.
But banks still command the lion’s share of consumer finances. Credit unions hold only 9% of consumer savings and 10% of installment credit outstanding.
If credit unions are a better deal, why are so many people—about 66% adults in the U.S.—not credit union members?
CUNA’s survey of nonmembers reveals credit unions would have to do five things differently to get nonmembers to join credit unions.
Respondents say credit unions would have to:
The fact that no one single issue dominates the survey responses might be frustrating for credit unions trying to focus their energies and efforts.
The most difficult nonmembers to attract will be the 23% of respondents who say there’s nothing credit unions could do to persuade them to join.
Gen Y wants convenience
“A lack of convenient credit union locations has led the list of objections for many years,” says Jon Haller, CUNA’s director of corporate and market research.
Convenience is also an important issue for Generation Y.
“Younger nonmembers want convenience, and for them that really means mobile banking,” Haller says. “While many credit unions offer mobile banking, the perception is that they don’t, or they don’t offer an experience comparable to that of banks.
“Young nonmembers’ perception of credit unions—if they have one—does not represent reality,” Haller continues. “They’re oft en quite surprised to discover that many credit unions are just as technologically advanced as most banks. Credit unions have some work to do to let young nonmembers know about their mobile offerings.”
Haller acknowledges it can be a delicate balancing act to attract younger members without alienating older members. You’ll want to tailor your marketing messages for different audiences through social media and more traditional marketing channels.SIDEBAR
“Perhaps young adults don’t expect high levels of technology because credit unions are smaller, less conspicuous financial institutions relative to the regional and national banks,” Haller says.
“But online banking, mobile banking, apps—they’re all present in credit unions. What’s not there in some cases is an aggressive marketing plan to let nonmembers know what they’re missing.”
NEXT: Just like REI