Insights from the Non-Member and Driving Credit Union Engagement

By: Brian Werger, Director, TruStage Insurance Program, CUNA Mutual Group.

At the annual Discovery conference in August, CUNA Mutual Group Chief Economist Steve Rick predicted ongoing economic growth into 2018. Even with new car sales slowing from an 18 million-per-year peak and increasing interest rates, credit unions will continue to benefit from the second largest economic expansion in U.S. history. But, it won’t last forever. Rick stated that credit union membership growth will slow to 3 – 3.5 percent through 2018, due to slower job growth and slower lending trends.

This potential decline points to increasing focus on expanding membership. Recent research from TruStage® CUNA Mutual Group’s consumer insurance brand, examines an often-untapped opportunity for credit unions to grow. “What Matters Now®: Insights from the Non-Member,” is a deep-dive into non-member and under-engaged member mindsets, lifestyles, attitudes, and habits. These crucial insights can be invaluable tools for your credit union to reach this audience. Watch the recent webinar for a breakdown of the research here. 

Who are non-members?
Only 22 percent of hardworking families surveyed were fully engaged credit union members, meaning they consider their credit union their primary banking institution.* The other 78 percent of hardworking Americans fall into three areas of opportunity for membership growth: partially engaged members, disengaged members, and true non-members.*

Partially engaged members acknowledge that they are a credit union member, but say that their primary banking is done elsewhere. Disengaged members have credit union products, but don’t consider themselves to be credit union members (and note that only a small percent of this group were members via indirect loans). True non-members have no credit union affiliation at all.

Diversity impacting behavior
Among its key findings, the research revealed prominent levels of diversity among the three opportunity segments, which were more likely to be a Millennial or from a race other than white (vs. the “engaged member” population). These segments put a high value on brands that reflect their cultural identity, and that they were more likely to choose a financial institution based on a personal recommendation. This will be significant to credit unions aiming to grow membership in an economy where over the last 5 years, multicultural consumers accounted for 92% of US consumer growth, and whereby 2020, multicultural consumers will account for 98% of growth.

Recommendation: Add engagement level to your segmenting
Most credit unions already segment their targeting efforts based on demographic factors; an engagement filter can be a valuable addition. Take a closer look at the disengaged members. The What Matters Now research showed that this was the population with the highest propensity to make the credit union their primary financial institution in the future.

For more insights gathered by the What Matters Now research program, watch the recent webinar here. 

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