The Credit Union Loyalty Disconnect

When it comes to loyalty and rewards innovation, credit unions (CUs) and their members don’t always see eye to eye.

Loyalty and rewards innovation tops members’ list of innovation priorities, with 49.1 percent saying they want their CUs to focus on launching new loyalty and rewards features and products. Yet, only 29.4 percent of CUs actively invested in loyalty and rewards innovation during the past three years. In short, many CUs are not investing in the very area their members want most.

So, why do some CUs choose to invest in loyalty and rewards innovation, while others ignore it? Moreover, how does this choice affect their broader innovation strategies?

In the Credit Union Innovation Playbook: Loyalty Innovation Edition, in collaboration with PSCU, PYMNTS delves into how developing new loyalty and rewards products can help enhance CUs’ relationships with their members.

Drawing from survey data collected from more than 2,000 CU members and 108 decision-makers at CUs across the United States, we examined how members’ feelings toward their CUs changed depending on whether they valued CU loyalty innovation, and what set CUs apart from the rest when they prioritized loyalty innovation.

Our research suggests that the benefits of loyalty and rewards innovation extend far beyond consumer engagement. In fact, CUs that focused on loyalty innovation during the past three years appeared to be better innovators, overall, than CUs that did not.

CUs that had a history of prioritizing loyalty innovation rolled out innovations faster than those that did not, for instance. In fact, 53.3 percent of CUs that innovated new loyalty features and products complete innovation projects in two to six months on average. Just 43.7 percent of CUs that did not focus on loyalty innovation were able to complete innovation projects so quickly.

When asked, decision-makers at CUs that make loyalty innovation a priority also tend to cite more institutional factors that make innovation easier. Sixty percent say the talent and knowledge of their personnel help facilitate innovation, while 46.7 percent say their IT infrastructure makes it easier to innovate. Among decision-makers at CUs that did not innovate new loyalty and rewards features, these figures were just 33.3 percent and 23.6 percent, respectively.

The July 2019 Credit Union Innovation Playbook details these findings and much more. To learn more about what sets loyalty-focused CUs apart from the pack, download the playbook.



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