Dr. Neil Goldman, Senior Partner, Goldman Consulting and Strategy,Brett King, author and strategic advisor, hosted a live focus group with local non-members to discover reasons why they don’t bank with credit unions.
The panelists agreed that they felt uneducated when it comes to credit unions, They feel bombarded by banking advertisements and messages but they don’t have see any commercial messages from credit unions. All of them liked the idea that credit unions were non-profit organizations and the depth of ATM locations but felt that credit unions didn’t communicate these benefits appropriately. The majority of banking was done online, either through a computer or smartphone – it’s a necessity for customers to switch to credit unions.
Local branches are more important than a nationwide network. One panelist mentioned that a local branch is a way to educate your children about finances, that’s the way she grew up and wants her kids to have the same experience. While all of them rarely visit the local branch, they consider it a safety net and important asset.
The panelists were still very early in social media adoption (all of them had Facebook accounts but weren’t Twitter users) and wouldn’t engage with a financial institution on those channels. One panelist felt backstabbed by her bank and closed down all her accounts during the financial crisis. She chose a bank because she liked the local people in her branch, they were being helpful and the products/services of the bank were perfect for her needs. Some felt a bit helpless how to get started when looking for a credit union. Even though they understand now the benefits, they don’t know how to get started. Where would they find the credit union for their needs? An online search doesn’t provided appropriate results. One panelist encouraged to use paid keywords.
Panelists believed that membership is a positive term but they also agreed that the term might be a barrier for the outside public. More importantly, they encouraged all credit unions to collaborate on a national awareness campaign. If you don’t have awareness of credit unions, you will never consider them.