New Research Explores How Being Member-Centric is the Smartest Growth Strategy 

March 25, 2022 Co-op Solutions

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Today, credit unions are up against more challenges than ever, from the rise of fintechs and challenger brands, to the deterioration of the “traditional” banking model. The rapid growth of digital – which accelerated during the pandemic – is leaving some credit unions at a disadvantage. In light of these concerning trends, Co-op sought to examine the industry’s evolution and what credit unions need to understand so that they can create a growth strategy. 

As the leading payments technology innovator for credit unions, Co-op is in a unique position to invest in comprehensive, in-depth research on behalf of our credit union clients and partners. We can ask the big questions designed to help credit unions achieve record growth and long-term success. That’s why we are excited to announce that Co-op’s latest in-depth research on the credit union movement will be released at the Co-op THINK 2022 conference in May.  

Co-op again partnered with consulting firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) to examine what credit union members and prospects need and want from their financial institutions. In addition to this deep dive into the evolving desires and expectations of members and prospects, we partnered with Filene Research Institute to understand the unique challenges and priorities of credit union leaders as they strategize growth in the coming years.   

“Our goal with pursuing these two parallel research studies was to identify the gap between credit unions’ current priorities and product offerings, and the solutions that the broad market of current and prospective members say they need today,” said Samantha Paxson, Chief Experience Officer, Co-op Solutions.  “With an eagle-eyed view of the credit union movement, Co-op is well-positioned to bring these two studies together and provide growth-oriented, actionable insights for credit unions.” 

Co-op commissioned these extensive research projects 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 at Co-op, our commitment is to help credit unions grow through exceptional member experiences. 

But in order for credit unions to have success in providing these meaningful interactions and member-focused solutions, we – as an industry – need to understand what the modern financial consumer needs and wants, during a time of revolutionary change in financial services.  

The biggest insight from the research? For credit unions to continue leading the way for their members, they need to reexamine what it means to be member-centric. Yet credit unions can’t do this alone. During such a pivotal time in the history of the credit union movement, the spirit of cooperation inherent in the word “cooperative” has never been more important. 

Exploring the Gap Between Needs and Solutions 

For the second 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 determine their preferred banking behaviors. The survey sample encompassed a diverse mix of demographic groups covering multiple generations, income levels and asset sizes.  

In addition, Co-op engaged Filene Research Institute to conduct an environmental scan of the credit union system. As part of this research, Filene surveyed credit union leaders on the challenges facing their organizations in 2022 and over the next 2-3 year planning cycle. 

In our research, we wanted to ask a series of important WHY, WHAT, and HOW questions relevant to how credit unions can grow market share and serve their members better.  

WHY are credit unions struggling to grow membership? WHY is the traditional credit union model, built on a successful foundation of People Helping People – established over 100 years ago – now at risk? WHY are fintechs gaining relationships and market share from credit unions (and to some extent, banks), and winning over the hearts and minds of financial consumers? 

WHAT is holding credit unions back from enjoying the same level of success? WHAT does financial wellness mean for today’s financial consumer? WHAT are the challenges that credit union leaders are facing right now, and over the next 2-3 years? 

And HOW do we address these trends, and connect them to opportunities for credit union growth? 

We are excited to share the results of our research with attendees at Co-op THINK 22, and with the broader credit union community. We look forward to addressing these significant challenges with our credit union partners, in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, as we together help to propel the credit union movement forward— toward a brighter tomorrow. 

Join us for Co-op THINK 22 as we dive into new research showing the importance of knowing members like never before. 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 as THINK returns live in Chicago, May 2-6, 2022.  

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The original article New Research Explores How Being Member-Centric is the Smartest Growth Strategy  can be found on Insight Vault.

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