Performance Benchmarks for Retail Investment Programs

Credit unions have a new opportunity to benchmark their Retail Investment Program performance and productivity.


Effectively managing a retail investment program for your members is becoming increasingly important given demographic shifts and the range of options available in the marketplace. Benchmarking the performance of your program and the productivity of your staff can give you insights into the opportunity for strengthening this critical component of member relationships.

The credit union industry has not historically had a standardized performance model to measure itself against. Comparisons to bank retail investment performance sometimes ignore the unique opportunities and challenges credit unions face.

Callahan & Associates and SCS Consulting have launched the Credit Union Retail Investment Benchmark Program, an initiative designed to provide industry information specific to the credit union retail investment channel and enable credit unions to benchmark and improve their own retail investment programs.

Understanding the Overall Performance of the Credit Union Market

An aggregate, industry-level view needs to be measured and monitored on a regular basis (at least annually) so as identify the trends related to overall growth in this channel in contrast to the growth factors of credit unions in general amongst the members that we serve today - and should be serving tomorrow.

To help obtain this market data, the largest broker/dealers serving the credit union market are providing Callahan/SCS with their own credit union data and financial information. This cooperative effort will aid the development of industry performance metrics and provide a starting point for trending productivity levels and wallet and/or market share in this space. Below is a glimpse of the preliminary aggregate data that Callahan/SCS has received from the Broker Dealers that serve credit unions today:

  • There are 931 credit unions across the country that have one or more Financial Consultants in their branches.
  • On average, each Financial Consultant is generating $165k in gross dealer concession, oversees $23,987,620 million in invested assets in 528 investment accounts.
  • On average each credit union is generating $342,493 in gross dealer concession, oversees $49,746,313 in invested assets in 1,095 accounts.
  • There are a total of 1,950 face-to-face financial consultants across the country overseeing $45,816,355,147 in invested assets in 1,028,254 investment accounts.
  • The total invested dollars ($50 billion) in credit union investment services programs is 7.1% of the total assets of all credit unions.
  • The total amount of gross dealer concession that the credit union channel generates is $325 million.

This information illustrates the credit union industry’s gains in overall wallet share beyond traditional loans and deposit products. The data show that we have a long way to go given that on average the invested assets that we are overseeing represent only 7.1% of the total assets of the entire credit union industry. If we as an industry are truly overseeing the insured and uninsured assets of our members, an argument can be made that the member’s investment assets that we manage should exceed our own overall assets.

Evaluating Productivity of the Retail Investment Market

Tightening margins are forcing credit unions to re-evaluate their service delivery model for a wide range of products. In the face of growing competition and increasing complexity, credit unions are striving to find an efficient delivery model in order to provide investment products to meet changing member needs. Until now, credit unions have had few options for evaluating their retail investment performance to understand if there were opportunities for improvement. A key component of the Credit Union Retail Investment Benchmark program will be the participation of individual credit unions by providing their own retail investment program data.

Credit unions view their retail investment program productivity differently than other financial service providers and require their own performance metrics. Credit unions interested in measuring their program’s performances should be considering the following aspects of retail investment performance:

  • Staffing:
    • Do we have appropriate staffing to manage our existing accounts?
    • Do we have staffing to support growth objectives?
  • Compensation:
    • Are we properly incentivizing financial consultants to open new accounts?
    • Are there better ways to compensate staff to increase staff retention?
  • Expenses:
    • Are our expenses in line with similar programs?
    • Are there opportunities to lower expenses by structuring our program differently?
  • Structure:
    • How are credit unions of similar sizes managing their investment programs?
    • Do we need to expand our licensed staff or support staff?
  • Revenue:
    • Is the level of gross revenue from this channel, relative to your credit union’s size, in line with others?
    • How does your program’s net income contribution to the credit union compare to similar programs

Looking beyond the numbers, credit unions must remain focused on the goal of meeting member needs while creating strong relationships. The challenge is to find the structure that provides the greatest efficiency and support to service existing accounts and develop new accounts.

The 2007 Credit Union Retail Investment Benchmark Program will enable participating credit unions to compare and measure themselves to the established benchmark levels of productivity and performance for this business channel.

To participate in the Benchmark Program or to obtain further information, visit our website.

Or contact Pete Snyder, President, Snyder Consulting Solutions by phone (916-624-2161) or by email