Member education is a hot topic for credit unions right now. We
know because we receive daily requests from credit unions who are
looking to educate members and want to discuss how we can help.
In the process of servicing our credit union clients and discussing
member education with a wide range of credit unions all over the
country, we've amassed critical knowledge on how credit unions are
handling member education today as well as their plans for the future.
Here's what we've found:
- First and foremost, while there are definite trends in member
education, all credit unions are different. We've never had
any two credit unions that had exactly the same goals, the same
strategy, and were facing the same challenges. That said, the
key drivers for credit union's individual member education needs
are 1) size of the credit union and 2) key investment and loan
products. Location and charters are also a factor, but not to
the same degree.
- Overwhelmingly, credit unions are looking for ways to 1)
better serve their members, 2) increase member loyalty to convert
current members to lifetime members, 3) help members make key
financial decisions that they may be delaying due to a lack of
knowledge. Over 80% of the credit unions we talk to have at
least one of these items as a goal for member education, and most
have all three as key objectives.
- While increasing online banking is a driver for many credit
unions, requests for live services-primarily workshops and financial
counseling-are almost as frequent as requests for online content.
The credit unions we speak with are increasingly finding that
members need more personalized support to make key financial decisions
and online content alone doesn't provide enough support. They
also see live services as a bigger driver for increasing member
loyalty and create lifetime members, as well as recruiting new
- There is the least demand for printed financial materials.
Nearly all credit unions we speak with provide some sort of education
through brochures, newsletters, and other materials on different
financial topics, for distribution through the mail and at branch
offices. This, to them, is a minimal level of education that they
must provide to service members and in most cases, they have provided
materials since their inception. While credit unions regularly
update, reprint, and/or reorder printed materials, there is little
demand for additional materials outside of what they are currently
- With respect to online content and tools, we have the most
interest from credit unions from $100 million-$500 million in
assets. Large credit unions with over $1 billion in assets
are often challenged by having too much content on their web sites
and are actively trying to streamline their sites so members can
more readily find the information and services they need. Generally,
these credit unions have multiple providers of online financial
education content, and there is a lack of consistency on the site
as a result. We've found cases where there are up to 15 different
content and tool providers, and sites actually provide conflicting
information on the same topic. On the other end of the spectrum,
credit unions with less than $100 million in assets have a definite
need for online content but are sometimes constrained by budget
or internal resources. We've created flexible packages for these
credit unions so they can buy content in smaller increments, supporting
first and foremost their key products and services.
- Our most requested topics are homebuying, debt and basic money
management, and loans (especially auto loans). We also see significant
demand for retirement planning, and content for specific markets,
such as teenagers, women, and Hispanic populations are gaining
These are our experiences with credit unions, but we are always
looking for ways to gain more knowledge. We've developed a Member
Education Survey in partnership with Callahan's, and it is currently
available on this site by clicking
here. If you have a moment, we'd love your feedback on the member
education programs and initiatives your credit union is providing,
as well as plans for the future. All survey participants will receive
a discount on the research report Callahan's develops from the survey.
We hope this report will be an excellent tool for credit unions
to use as they launch different member education programs.
Financial Finesse provides unbiased full service financial education
programs to over 300 credit unions and corporations across the country.
Our award-winning content and curriculum covers virtually any financial
topic, from debt to estate planning, and can be delivered in multiple
formats: live, online, over the phone, and through financial planning
kits and materials. For more information on how we are working with
credit unions to develop member education programs, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-866-763-2677.