Survey Results Highlight Need for Targeted Online Education

Credit union online members report difficulties understanding which product is best to fit their financial situation and want better online resources to make decisions


Website Satisfaction Scores Show Room For Improvement

A recent Survey Consortium survey of more than 13,000 online members found that while members felt that the credit union website provided good basic product information, they want more resources to help them select between different financing options.

Members are more satisfied with their credit union’s online calculators (46% very satisfied) and explanations of credit union products and services (47%) and less satisfied with the ease of finding credit union educational resources (31%), the website’s ability to help them to determine the best financing option for their financial situation (34%) and the range of consumer education available (37%).

Callahan & Associates, Survey Consortium 2005

Helping Members Make Decisions

Member’s greatest challenges are in understanding terminology and finding the best product to fit their needs. Although many members visit their credit union’s website first, they are using a wide range of other websites to research financial service products and services. As one member explained:

“The advice on my credit union’s website is verygeneral, not very specific. I am looking for help determining which products and services are best for my specific situation; your website provides information about the products and services, but doesn't help figure out which is most appropriate.”

What types of information do members want? Survey responses showed a definite need for basic definitions of financial terms as well as more detailed explanations of their financing options. They also want to be able to more easily compare the tradeoff between products and services.

“I would want to find straight forward info about financial offers, but very often explanation on these packages are written in a way where readers are expected to fully understand trends and different options. The truth is that, unless one is in the financials field, it's very difficult to keep up to date with all financial trends.”

Targeting Information for Different Member Segments

Credit unions should consider the challenges faced by their membership, and adjust their education strategy accordingly. For example, credit unions with an older membership base should ensure that the website highlights their retirement planning information and account options. Younger or lower income members can be more interested in money management information and tools.

“I’m very, very ignorant. Could use a more basic primer for the uninformed. (e.g., if you make 30k or less, you should.... if your goal is to save for retirement, you should...)”

Some credit unions are using a “Life Events” option on their navigation bar to organize their resources into easily understood categories. Others are opting for a resource center menu that includes topics such as an auto center, home center, etc. Credit unions are also increasing the awareness of their online calculators by placing them on as a separate category, in addition to their inclusion in the relevant topic menu.

“I don't really look to the credit union site as an educational site to lead me to the right product. I look to it for specific information on the products you offer that I’ve already considered or determined will fit my plan. I don't think the site is organized for the person seeking education on a financial topic then selecting a product based upon that information. The site (in my view) is organized around products. For me that's fine. But if the goal is to provide the education so people understand the products and use them, you may need some way for people to start with their needs, then identify the products available.”

How well does your credit union website help members understand financing tradeoffs?