Banks have this major edge over credit unions. Can they catch up?

While credit unions are still leading the way in customer service, consumers think banks are better at digital. Here's how credit unions can learn from the competition and gain an edge in building — and retaining — customer loyalty.

Banks and credit unions used to be distinct: Banks had the wider product range. Credit unions were more community-focused.

But the lines have blurred, weakening credit unions’ edge. Between 2014 and 2021, credit unions’ engagement premium — the advantage from customers’ attachment to their brands — fell by 10%, according to Gallup. And the difference in net promoter scores compared to banks fell by 12%.

It’s not all bad news. The Harris Poll says credit unions still lead on customer service and personalization.

That said, The Harris Poll also found Americans think banks are better at digital. Given the rapid shift towards digitization in the U.S. right now — the Forbes Advisor: 2022 Digital Banking Survey found 78% of Americans prefer banking online — this means credit unions have a lot of catching up to do.


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