Credit unions (CUs) are a popular alternative to traditional banks, with 5,613 CUs in operation as of January 2019, and 195,000 new memberships added in January alone. This popularity is hard-earned — CUs face the stiff challenge of engaging customers on a daily basis to ensure that they don’t leave for newer FinTech players.
In the May Credit Union Tracker™, PYMNTS explores the latest developments in the CU space, including new partnerships, technological innovations and expansions into previously underserved areas.
To stay competitive in the financial space, many CUs are teaming up. In one instance, Australia-based Unity Bank, Southern Cross Credit Union and WAW Credit Union partnered with Square to expand their services into rural Australia. The POS solution will now be accessible by rural merchants in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland that do business with any of the CUs.
In addition, blockchain technology is making its way to CUs, with CU service organization CULedger and IBM partnering on new, blockchain-based financial services for the latter’s members. The new tech is intended to aid in authenticating identities, regulatory compliance, lending and payments.
Throughout these new developments, CU membership remains strong. Memberships at Colorado-based Ent Credit Union increased by more than 11 percent last year, the largest growth rate ever seen by the CU, bringing its total number of members to 338,834. Ent’s total assets also increased by more than 10 percent last year, reaching $5.57 billion.
For more on these and other credit union news items, download this month’s Tracker.
While CUs work hard to recruit new members, retaining members and preventing them from leaving for a traditional bank or FinTech is a constant struggle. The first 30 days of a new membership are crucial to ensure those members’ continued loyalty to the credit union, according to Brian Knollenberg, vice president of member insights and strategy for BECU.
In this month’s feature story, Knollenberg discussed three metrics BECU uses to track its members’ engagement, by both quantitative and qualitative means, and how CUs can team up to prevent member attrition.
Find the rest of the feature story in the Credit Union Tracker.
Customer service has always been a draw for CUs, with many customers citing it as a reason for picking one over a nationwide bank. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems provide CUs with a means of logging and tracking customer interactions in a single database, potentially offering CUs a much more cohesive customer service strategy. Despite their benefits, however, they’re still only used by a minority of CUs.
This month’s Deep Dive explores how CRMs can help CUs in their day-to-day operations, and why many CUs have chosen not to use them.
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