United by a Common Bond of Service

CUs’ cooperative model is the best avenue for members’ financial security.

August 11, 2015

Last month, CUNA—your national trade association representing credit unions at both the federal and state level—co-hosted with the World Council of Credit Unions the world’s largest gathering of credit union activists and leaders.

Thousands of credit union leaders from 60 countries gathered in Denver, all driven by a common bond.

That common bond is the belief that credit union service is the best avenue for people to secure for themselves—through cooperative member-ownership—a wide range of modern, responsive, and innovative banking services to build financial security and an improved quality of life.

This month’s Credit Union Magazine reports on CUNA’s annual National Member & Nonmember Survey results. This robust research examines current demographics, awareness, loyalty drivers, and the types of products and services that appeal to members—especially young adults—so they’ll choose a credit union as their primary Financial institution.

One fundamental truth emerges from our survey and others, too: The more familiar consumers are with credit unions, the more likely they are to choose one.

And that higher awareness leads to greater loyalty, trust, and an increased likelihood that members will recommend their credit union to friends and family.

I’ve been tremendously impressed by all the surveys I’ve seen since taking the helm at CUNA—from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to the Gallup and Harris polls and other measures of consumer satisfaction and trust.

ACSI, the respected measure of customer satisfaction, ranked credit unions much higher than traditional banks. Our 85 satisfaction score is first in financial services and second highest of all 43 industries ACSI measures. The average bank score lagged behind at 74.

Nobody provides consumer-focused financial services better than we do, and our members’ satisfaction is clear in those surveys. That’s something we should be proud of—but it isn’t enough for our future.

To succeed and grow in the future we must challenge ourselves to meet the changing expectations of current and future credit union members. With new competitors emerging, we must align ourselves with our members and look out for their best interests. That’s the credit union difference, and it’s how we’ll succeed.

Telling our story—clearly and boldly—will be key as we create greater awareness of the credit union difference. From buying a home to affording college to starting a business, members look to us as valued financial partners.

Members also tell us they value the high-quality, high-touch experiences they receive from credit unions. The benefits of those relationships flow to members and the credit unions that serve as their advocates. We’re stronger together—in business and in advocacy.

Our analysis of consumer attitudes in these pages offers great insights into strengthening the relationship credit unions have with members, especially young adults, who are your future borrowers and savers.

Those relationships will fuel our system’s growth and foster more loyal members. They’re also central to our e_ orts, through CUNA’s Member Activation Program, to improve the regulatory operating environment of credit unions.

The meeting in Denver was a great affirmation of what we can accomplish together, for members’ best interests and our shared values of credit union service.