Online members are accessing the credit union services through multiple touchpoints, with heavy use of online banking (multiple times per week) and monthly use of the credit union branch. In terms of their preferences, however, members are divided between those who prefer to avoid the branch and those who select channels based on convenience. The branch avoiders, with higher incomes and reliance on online self-service, have the greatest interest in new technologies such as online account opening and mobile alerts.
The convenience-focused members demand better coordination across channels as they expect to see the same information whether using the ATM or online banking. Meeting the needs of these two important segments will be critical for credit unions looking to target the youth segment and higher income members.
“Where I live there is only one location and no ATMs of its own; I got a debit/check card to avoid paying shared branch ATM fees. I like the advantage of online bill pay and using it for all available payments. I also use the telephone to verify payments and check clearings several times per week; the online account access is used to clear up any discrepancies in balancing my checking account. I don't need or use online statements.”
While all channels will not appeal to all members, the point is to reinforce the value of the credit union through expanded access and convenience. Moving routine questions and basic transactions to the internet could not only expand convenience but also free resources to better focus on more complex issues.
Preferences for Communicating with the Credit Union
Member communications preferences show an increasing reliance on the online channel as their first or second choice for communicating with the credit union, particularly in terms of loan applications/updates. Preferences for the branch and mail are decreasing, while the website, email, and chat are increasing.
- In 2008, almost three-quarters of online members would turn to an online channel (73%), either the website, email or live chat for information on new credit union products or services, up from 67% in 2006.
- For loan applications updates/questions, there is a significant increase to 62% of members preferring the online channel compared to less than half (45%) in 2006.
- For questions about their account, 39% prefer online channels, with a slight increase compared to 2006. The majority of members still prefer communicating through the call center (33%) or the branch (27%). However, the extent to which members can use self-service to get answers represents an opportunity to provide a cost-effective information channel that members can access at their convenience.
- For opening new accounts, a new category in 2008, slightly more than one-third of members prefer the online channel, typically the credit union website.
Source: 2008 Internet Strategy Consortium Survey of 12,062 Members