RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Consumer preference for a single provider and addressing “financial fragility” as a source of dissatisfaction are among the key findings of a new study suggesting credit unions are strongly positioned in the current marketplace.
To help credit union executives, CO-OP Financial Services commissioned Filene Research Institute to study the socioeconomic and technological changes expected to have the greatest impact on consumer behaviors and preferences. The study, titled “Payments, Personal Financial Management and Prospects for Credit Union Growth” is now available here.
Filene’s research and recommendations are based on two nationally representative surveys of U.S. consumers conducted in late May, well into the “new normal” of COVID-19. Many of the key takeaways cited by the report’s authors indicate a strong potential for stickiness among today’s financial consumers. The takeaways also highlighted a vast opportunity among people often ignored by major banks.
People favor a single provider. More than 8 in 10 respondents said they prefer to use as few financial institutions as possible. And, switching is difficult. A total of 83 percent of survey respondents agreed they would rarely switch financial institutions.
Financial fragility increases dissatisfaction. Almost half (43 percent) of those with household earnings below $50,000 a year would consider switching, compared to just 13 percent of those earning above $50,000 a year. Nearly a third (29 percent) of those currently looking for work and 22 percent of unemployed respondents said they would consider changing providers.
The report states, “payments capabilities are clearly the most important and desirable things that financial institutions can offer, (while) financial wellness capabilities are appreciated as well.” It recommends “strengthening connections between payments and financial wellness tools (for) added value to the relationships that already exist between accountholders and their financial institutions.”
“Filene’s research proves the strong connection between loyalty and payments,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO, of CO-OP. “Credit union CEOs and their teams will exceed modern consumer expectations if they focus on reimagining the payments experience. The key is expanding the mindset beyond simply facilitating the movement of money. Payments happen multiple times a day, and the credit union can be there for every money moment in their members’ lives.”
Additional findings by Filene pointed to engagement with a provider’s payments products as a significant factor in determining a consumer’s loyalty:
Active use of a credit card leads to retention. Just 13 percent of active credit card users would consider switching.
More use of non-bank digital payments increases disloyalty. More frequent use of competing digital platforms correlated with greater dissatisfaction with respondents’ current financial institutions.
Payments are paramount. A total of 31 percent said payments were the most important product or service.
“On behalf of the nation’s credit unions, CO-OP is making major investments in our digital ecosystem to deliver world-class, technology-forward payments experiences,” said Clark. “We look forward to continuously innovating alongside our credit union partners to help more consumers realize what can come from a long-term, high-trust relationship with a credit union.”
CO-OP will be exploring the findings of Filene’s research and other issues before the industry in its series of CO-OP THINK virtual events this fall. Registration is at no charge, with more information available here.