Survey Shows that Members Prefer E-mail

Perception is not reality when it comes to communicating with members via e-mail. While phishing fears abound, survey results indicate that members still desire e-mail.


With phishing and ID fraud grabbing the headlines, one might conclude that email is losing its effectiveness as a way to communicate with members. However, a recent Callahan Internet Strategy Consortium study shows that a majority of online members actually appreciate certain forms of e-mail communication from their credit union.

Members Prefer E-mail
According to Callahan’s survey of over 10,300 members, 68% said they would welcome at least one type of e-mail communication from their credit union, with many specifying multiple topics of interest.

Members are most interested in hearing about updates to online services and tools, as well as being informed of new products or services. For example, this member wants to know about the credit union’s plans to expand to locations near him:

“I would like to receive an update when you are going to open up some more drive up ATMs in my area.”

The chart below details the specific types of e-mails that members desire:


These different types of communications represent an opportunity not only to educate members about credit union products and services, but also help them meet their financial planning goals. Increased awareness can help ensure that members will turn to the credit union first when considering loans and new accounts.

Additionally, making them aware of new online services and transaction capabilities can help reinforce the perception that the credit union is increasing services to make it easier for members to manage their finances.

Credit unions can leverage email to strengthen member relationships by sending periodic information and service updates that members desire. By carefully designing e-mail and informing members about the types of information they will receive online, credit unions can counteract phishing fears and ensure that members stay informed.

Newsletter Communication
As a first step, most credit unions have a newsletter that they send to their members. If your credit union isn’t already offering an e-mail version, now is a good time to examine how to provide members with the option to receive that content via e-mail. As one member commented, there are benefits to both the credit union and the member:

I think you could send out the newsletter as an e-mail and save a lot of money for printing and postage. Members who still want a paper copy can get one. Vanguard Mutual Funds has gone all electronic for those of us who want that…”

If you already offer an e-mail newsletter, take a look at it and compare the contents to the chart above. Does it include the type of information that members like to receive?

To learn how other credit unions are developing successful e-mail programs, check out the webinar “Using E-mail to Strengthen the Member Relationship,” brought to you by the Callahan Center for Credit Union Leadership.