Latest CU Growth Outlook Research Defines New Member-centric Model

August 4, 2023

Today’s consumers feel less financially secure than ever before. From rising interest rates and runaway inflation to job losses and bank failures, members are looking to their credit unions as beacons of stability among a chaotic and concerning financial landscape.

To strengthen member relationships and ensure long-term growth, credit unions must be a part of their members’ daily lives, capturing more of those everyday interactions as the gateway to a new model of member-centricity. This is one of the key takeaways from the 2023 Co-op CU Growth Outlook research to be released at the THINK 2023 conference in May.

Focused on growth strategy specifically for credit unions, Co-op is in a unique position to invest in comprehensive, in-depth research on behalf of our clients and industry partners. We can ask the big questions designed to help credit unions achieve record growth and long-term success.

Co-op partnered with consulting firm EY for the third consecutive year, and with Mastercard for the first time to examine the convergence between micro and macro payments and understand how one impacts the other, in part, by considering the behavioral psychology behind payments and what drives consumers to choose a specific payment type.

Our goal with pursuing these two parallel research studies was to explore why payments are the natural path to long-term relationship value, and to better understand the psychology of micro spending behavior. With its digital ecosystem of solutions designed especially for credit unions, Co-op’s deep connections within the movement enable us to conduct industry-leading research and provide thought leadership-oriented, actionable insights for credit unions.

Connecting the Dots Between Macro Revenue Streams and Micro Payments

For the third year in a row, in collaboration with Co-op, EY conducted a market research survey of 2,000 current credit union members and 1,000 prospects across all regions of the U.S. to understand current market trends, and the factors playing into respondents’ long-term spending and goal setting. The survey sample encompassed a diverse mix of demographic groups covering multiple generations, income levels and asset sizes.

In addition, Co-op engaged Mastercard to survey over 1,200 credit union members and non-members across all regions of the U.S., assessing how payment preferences and financial attitudes may be approached through a lens of behavioral science. Through this approach, we can understand the reasons, conscious and unconscious, that influence payment choice, and determine what can be done to influence behavior.

In 2021 and 2022, Co-op Solutions made a commitment to conduct extensive research on behalf of its clients, to help the credit union movement navigate a sea of changes in the market brought on by the digital transformation of payment systems.

In our 2023 research, we explored the connection between micro, daily payment interactions and long-term financial wellness. We discovered a direct correlation between short-term financial management constraints and achievement of long-term spending and saving goals across all demographics. This is a key issue for credit unions not only as socially responsible financial services providers, but as organizations that seek to prosper and grow in the long-term in a highly competitive and converging marketplace. We also identify opportunities for credit unions to differentiate, drive growth and reclaim trust by winning the primary financial interaction moment-by-moment.

We are excited to share the results of its 2023 research during THINK 23, along with study partners EY and Mastercard. The data and conclusions will inform much of the THINK 23 content, with breakout sessions enabling deeper dives into the findings. The research will be released to the general community following the conference.

We look forward to partnering with credit unions as they help their members manage their daily and long-term financial lives, ensuring growth and success through a new model of member-centricity.

For a deeper dive into Co-op’s research on the importance of connecting members’ short-term needs with long-term financial wellness through payments and active primary relationships, download our white paper, “Co-op CU Growth Outlook: Fueling financial performance through daily interactions.”

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