Credit Union

6 Strategies for Credit Unions to Better Meet Member Needs

6 Strategies for Credit Unions to Better Meet Member Needs

December 06, 2023 | Nancy Mills

Credit unions are known to provide personalized service and focus on the unique needs of their members. For many members, this dedicated service is now even more important as consumers continue to face financial stress. From high interest rates, to inflation, to student loan payments, to unexpected expenses, today’s consumers are under a lot of pressure. 

Consumers expect a lot from their financial institutions, and credit union members are no exception. Members may want help managing their credit and outstanding debts. They want competitive rates for their borrowing needs. They want investment advice. They also want the business they provide to their credit union to be appreciated. The list goes on.

What are some new ways that credit unions can provide their members with value-add, personalized services? How can they grow member engagement, deepen the relationship, and build loyalty? And how can they help their members manage financial pressure?

Here are six ways that credit unions can advance the member relationship and help members cope with financial stress. 

1. Offer a pathway to help members improve their credit score

Consumers are looking to their financial providers for help in managing their finances and their credit. The vast majority of consumers – almost 80% – want their financial providers to help them improve their financial health. Yet, only 14% feel they are being helped.1 

One way that credit unions can help their members improve their financial health is to offer a digital credit assistant solution. This can provide members with specific, statistically-proven pathways to improve credit scores. For example, the assistant may offer suggestions such as:

  • Avoid late payments

  • Pay off collections accounts

  • Keep revolving account balances below $1,000

  • Keep utilization to 15% on credit card accounts

  • Do not open any new accounts in the next 12 months

Members that use this type of service often check back to track the impact of their actions on their credit scores. This brings them back to your website and digital app where they are more likely to notice additional products and promotions from your organization.

2. Provide a value-add service to help members protect personal information

Did you know that the average person has personal information exposed on 35+ sites?  And that this equates to over 300 pieces of personal data exposed per person?2

All this exposed data could put your members in some uncomfortable, annoying situations. These might include physical harm (such as coming to one’s home), digital harm (such as identity theft or hacking accounts), and increased spam. 

To help, credit unions can offer a personal information protection solution. With this, consumers can be notified of exactly what data has been exposed and where. Once consumers try this application, they will often return to your site to keep checking for updates. This helps increase engagement and provides the opportunity to promote additional services.

To go further, credit unions can offer an add-on that enables members to have exposed data removed. And they can have it re-removed since data is often re-exposed on the same sites two to three times per year. About 10%-20% of consumers will sign up for this type of subscription-based removal and monitoring service.3  This could result in significant incremental revenue for your credit union.

Tip: Your employees might also enjoy a credit assistant or personal information protection solution! Both of these solutions are great benefits that you can provide to your team. 

3. Provide competitive credit offers at just the right time

Most consumers shop around a bit when they are searching for new credit. Whether it's a new credit card, an auto loan, a mortgage, or other personal loan. The question is, would you know if your members are shopping around?

To overcome this potential blind spot in understanding members’ credit needs, credit unions can take advantage of alerts that notify them when their members are in-market for new credit. The alerts are based on hard and soft inquiries for most common credit products. 

Then, you can use your Prescreen criteria to deliver a competitive offer to these in-market credit shoppers. With daily, weekly, or monthly notifications, you can be sure not to miss out on identifying prime cross-sell opportunities within your member-base. And you can maintain - or grow - your share of credit wallet.

4. Cross-sell the right deposit and investment products

Many of your members likely hold assets at other firms. But without a full view of your members’ finances, it can be hard to know which members are most likely to hold significant assets away from your credit union. Or what deposit and investment products they prefer. 

Your banking and wealth management teams may be intrigued to discover a way that they can better understand which members have the most asset-transfer potential. And what products they should promote to these members. 

The solution is for your teams to gain a sneak-peak into your members’ portfolio. Namely, their likely total assets, deposit balances, and investment balances - including assets they likely hold at other firms. You might discover that a member with a $5,000 CD at your credit union likely has $70,000 in CDs at other institutions. Or that a member with a $10,000 bond at your credit union likely has $100,000 in bonds held away. 

Now you have the insight you need to deliver just the right message to these members and encourage asset transfer. You can confidently put your account services representative on the phone, send out the right promotion, or personalize a member’s post sign-on screen on your web portal. One credit union used asset estimates to discover $14 billion in deposits being held by current members at other financial firms. The credit union could deepen relationships and grow share of wallet by focusing on a subset of these valuable members and encouraging them to transfer deposits. 

5. Provide assistance during tough times

Some of your members are likely struggling with debt, especially with the resumption of student loan payments. They might need some help.

By monitoring for changes in debt to income, utilization rates, and new credit, you can identify members that could benefit from additional advice or debt payment strategies. Then, you can take action, such as:

  • Provide financial education or counseling

  • Offer modified repayment plans or refinancing

  • Explore debt consolidation options

At times, consumers can feel overwhelmed by their debts. Any proactive measures that you can take to help your members minimize their financial stress will likely be much appreciated. And it could benefit you in the long run through increased member loyalty and fewer debt-related losses. 

6. Recognize members that offer the most potential for future growth

Check out these insights:

  • Young affluent consumers have 20x higher assets, 2.4x higher income, and 3x higher spending power as young non-affluent consumers.4

  • A financial institution achieved almost $50 million in incremental assets under management (AUM) by identifying high asset-potential new customers from day one.

  • A segment of your members are likely to have significant relative growth in total assets over the next three years, compared to other members that are likely to have flat or minimal growth.

What do all of these analytics have in common? They all identify segments that are more likely to be your best members in the future. Find these members. Give them premium treatment. Make sure they know about your best offers. The outcome will likely be a deeper member relationship, long-term loyalty, and a win-win for both your credit union and these members.

Discover additional tips to drive member growth, deepen member engagement, and manage risk.

  1. Array Consumer Survey 2022 as reported by the Key to Success for Financial Institutions infographic from Equifax.

  2. Data Brokers A Call for Transparency and Accountability, Federal Trade Commission.

  3. Equifax analytics.

  4. Equifax analytics.

Nancy Mills

Nancy Mills

VP, Credit Union Vertical

Nancy has over twenty years of experience working with financial institutions in technology, data and analytics. Nancy joined Equifax in May of 2012 and currently is responsible for the Credit Union Vertical which provides credit unions with the data, analytics and technology necessary to help members live their financ[...]