How Other Credit Unions Handling Member Education: Current Plans and Future Trends

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.

 

By Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union

 

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:

Overall findings

  • 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.

Delivery channels:

  • 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 members.

  • 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 providing.

  • 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.

Topics:

  • 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 in popularity.

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 info@financialfinesse.com or call 1-866-763-2677.

 

June 23, 2003


Comments

 
 
 
  • I guess we're not unusual in our need for member education.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
 
Advertisement