Latest Research Explores How Credit Unions Can Transform Their Business for Growth

April 17, 2024
Business for Growth

Battered by economic challenges, today’s financial consumers are being forced to reevaluate their spending and saving habits. Fewer consumers are feeling financially secure, with nearly half of all surveyed living paycheck to paycheck. 

Despite this difficult terrain, many—if not most—credit unions know what they need to do to succeed. They recognize that a deep understanding of their members’ financial needs and concerns is key to earning their trust, deposits and daily transactions. They also recognize that competitive pricing and legacy product offerings are no longer enough to break through in a cutthroat and noisy financial marketplace.  

To achieve a successful member-centric strategy, credit unions must transform their business through clearly defined value propositions, strategic alignment and enhanced digital delivery, all supported with the right talent, technology, and organizational culture and capabilities. 

These are just a few of the actionable takeaways from PSCU/Co-op Solutions’ latest research, which will be released at THINK 24 in Nashville, May 7-10, 2024.  

As the leading payments technology innovator for credit unions, PSCU/Co-op Solutions is in a unique position to invest in comprehensive, in-depth research on behalf of our credit union clients and partners. We can ask big questions designed to help credit unions sustain growth and achieve long-term success. 

For the fourth consecutive year, PSCU/Co-op Solutions partnered with global consulting firm EY. We surveyed 2,008 current credit union members and 1,009 credit union prospects across all regions of the U.S. to determine how financial consumer behaviors, preferences, and pain points have evolved. 

In addition, PSCU/Co-op Solutions partnered with Filene Research Institute to garner insights from credit union leaders on the tactical and operational barriers credit unions face in executing their growth strategies and achieving lasting business transformation.  

A Fork in the Road: Exploring the Bifurcation of Relationship Primacy 

Since PSCU/Co-op Solutions first began conducting intensive consumer research four years ago, several key trends that directly impact credit unions and their position in the marketplace have come to light. 

Over that time, fintechs have made strong market share gains, due largely to their ability to capture consumers’ financial transactions in the moments that matter. Meanwhile, credit union relationships are increasingly fragmented, with those respondents that name a credit union as their primary financial relationship (PFR) having on average three times the number of financial relationships as non-credit union members. 

In 2023, 45% of consumers surveyed cited engagement as the top driver of relationship primacy. For national banks and fintechs, this primacy is earned by offering interactive convenience. 

This year, the research shows that the relative importance of interactions and relationships are diverging, as consumers rely on multiple service providers to support different types of financial activities. Increasingly, consumers are segregating the institutions where they keep most of their money from the services they use to conduct their daily transactions. 

Relationship primacy is tied to where consumers hold most of their money, but interactions are where they are managing it. 

Research Designed to Help Credit Unions Thrive 

Our goal in pursuing these two parallel paths of research was to survey consumers on how they define their most important financial relationships today, and then identify the strategies that successful credit unions pursue to achieve above-market performance and growth. 

PSCU/Co-op Solutions engaged in this extensive research because we take our role as the proven innovator of reliable, secure, digital-first payments and partner to credit unions seriously. Members expect (and deserve) meaningful interactions that enable their financial well-being, and credit unions deserve the opportunity to grow by providing exceptional member experiences. 

We are excited to share the results of our research with the credit union community, with attendees at THINK 24 gaining first access. The credit union movement is built on a foundation of collaboration and cooperation, and we are proud to offer these insights and guidance in partnership with the entire cooperative movement. 

Join us for THINK 24, the Growth Strategy Conference specifically designed for credit unions. This year, we dive into new research providing a path for credit unions to grow long-term, sticky member relationships over time. We’ll hear from an impressive line-up of speakers and changemakers from inside—and outside—the credit union industry, providing actionable insights you can apply starting the day you return. You’ll learn new ways to put members front and center, future proofing your model to keep pace with increasing member expectations. Register today for THINK 24 in Nashville, May 7-10, 2024. 

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