Discovery Conference: Middle-class Americans see value of CUs

October 22, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (10/22/15)--Nearly two-thirds of middle-income non-members would consider opening an account at a credit union, creating an opportunity for credit union growth in this demographic, according to recent research from TruStage.

“If we can reach this group and educate them on the benefits of membership, there’s a good chance they can be influenced to join a credit union,” said Angie Fuhrken, director of marketing strategy and commercialization at TruStage, CUNA Mutual Group’s consumer brand.

The connection between credit unions and middle-class consumers was drawn during Fuhrken’s breakout session at CUNA Mutual Group’s Discovery Conference Wednesday. The sixth annual Discovery Conference presented keynoters and breakout sessions for free to attendees online.

CUNA Mutual’s “What Matters Now” report found that 28% of middle-income bank customers said they were “very” or “somewhat likely” to switch financial institutions in the next year.

In the study, middle-income Americans were defined as those between 30 and 70 years old with household incomes ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. This represents roughly 36% of the U.S. adult population and 42% of credit union members.

Fuhrken offered tips to promote credit unions to this demographic:

  • Find opportunities to reach new members through a community presence and continue to deliver superior member service;
  • Encourage members to share their member experience with family and friends;
  • Reinforce the convenience of credit union services with messages about mobile capabilities, a nationwide ATM network and shared branching; and
  • Help these consumers build financial security with low interest rates, fee structures and payment plans designed to make expenses more manageable.

CUNA also is focusing on the connection between credit unions and the middle class with its latest Member Activation Program--“Strong Credit Unions, Strong Middle Class.”

The campaign reinforces the fact that credit unions are the smart consumer choice for middle-class families, according to Richard Gose, CUNA’s chief political officer (News Now Oct. 14).

In a recent CUNA survey, 54% of respondents said credit unions are the best place for middle-class consumers to deposit their money.