The survey found that among all members, not just the “highly loyal” ones, 53% say their credit union is their primary financial institution (PFI). That proportion is down slightly from 59% in 2013 and 57% in 2011.
“When we looked at this year’s data by age group, we found that PFI levels fell into the 50% to 60% range across the board,” Haller says.
PFI levels varied across different income levels. Those members with household incomes of $25,000 to $75,000 had the highest PFI rate at 60%. The rate was closer to 45% among the lowest-earning households (earning less than $25,000) and the highest-earning households (earning more than $100,000).
Demographics of loyalty
When survey researchers looked at Net Promoter Scores by demographic groups, they found each age and income group of members registered higher scores than did their bank-using counterparts.
Not only that, but the gap between members’ and bank customers’ Net Promoter Scores was at least 20 percentage points in each age and income group, expanding to as much as a 40 percentage-point gap in some cases.
One group displaying the widest gap are the 18-to-24-year-olds. Young adults are markedly more likely to be promoters/highly loyal credit union members than they are to be promoters/highly loyal bank customers.
“Once you attract those young adults, they’re likely to become loyal members and heavy product/ service users,” says Haller. “They’re also likely to become vocal ambassadors for their credit unions. Through them, credit unions can reach out to even more young adults in their communities.”
From the survey data, researchers painted a picture of “highly loyal” versus “less loyal” members by comparing their use of credit union products and services.
As would be expected, highly loyal members use more products and services of all types. The differences between the two groups are particularly sizable for certain products/services.
For example, 77% of highly loyal members use their credit union’s online banking, compared with 40% of less loyal members. The rate of mobile banking use among highly loyal members is about twice that of less loyal members—29% versus 14%, respectively.
Outstanding loan balances, excluding first mortgages, are 36% higher for highly loyal members ($10,563 versus $7,775). And highly loyal members are about twice as likely as less loyal members to say their credit union is their PFI (67% versus 33%).
The 67% of highly loyal members calling their credit unions their PFIs is just one side of the coin. On the other side, you have 33% of highly loyal members saying banks are their PFIs.
Clearly, more can be done to close the gap between what some members think and what they actually do. Credit unions need to make the loyalty factor work even more in their favor.
NEXT: Forging stronger ties