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Making the Case for Convenience

With the introduction of each new technological advance over the past four decades, industry pundits forecast the demise of the credit union branch. Consumers would overcome their reluctance to get cash from a machine, they predicted, and embrace 24/7 ATMs. They would be won over by the internet and forgo driving to the branch to conduct business. All of these predictions have come to pass - and still, Americans, from senior citizens to twenty-somethings who rely on Smartphones for everything, continue to define convenient access to financial services by the proximity of brick and mortar. When MCUA commissioned a survey of nonmembers last spring, the results were no different.  

The nonmember survey was designed to gauge familiarity with credit unions and the advantages they offer over banks. The results were interesting to say the least and were covered in three special editions of Missouri Courier Magazine. In the spirit of cooperation and consumer awareness, MCUA is republishing its fascinating findings. Highlights from the third and final edition, Making the Case for Convenience are listed below. 

When marketing consultant Constance Anderson asks focus group participants in their 20s and 30s how they choose their financial institution, their answers mirror those of middle-aged and older consumers: "what's closest to me." Anderson sees a paradox with those responses. "When I ask them how often they go to that branch, they might say 'never.' And when I ask them why they picked it based on location the answer is always the same: 'I want it close in case I ever need it.'"

The survey results showed that credit unions ranked superior to banks in customer focus and rates, but fared poorly in perceptions of offering convenient locations.

Advantages and Obstacles in Recruiting Younger Members

  • Younger consumers are more amenable to change and comfortable with remote delivery channels like mobile banking
  • They're open to making the switch (55% of 18-29 year-olds were willing to switch financial institutions) 
  • They want a one-stop shop for all their financial needs
  • They expect modern conveniences like mobile banking
  • They're confused by the term "membership" (67% of respondents 18-29 said they were unsure if they could join a credit union) 

 Click here to continue reading Making the Case for Convenience. 

Click here to access all three editions that explore the nonmember survey.