Capitalizing on opportunity: A call to credit union leaders

In a dynamic financial landscape where customer satisfaction plays a pivotal role, recent findings from the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study presents a promising opportunity for credit unions. By remaining true to the cooperative principles that already guide the industry, credit unions are uniquely positioned to leverage inherent strengths to attract new members and deepen relationships with existing ones.

The study, conducted by J.D. Power, sheds light on several key areas where credit unions can capitalize on existing strengths to gain a competitive edge. Here are three pivotal takeaways and comments from CEOs Tansley Stearns (Community Financial CU), Mark Robnett (Justice FCU), and Mike Valentine (BCU) during a recent CUInsight Mini-Con panel discussion that relate to these areas and how these CEOs support and embody these opportunities:

Embracing the “People Helping People” Philosophy: At the heart of credit unions lies a core principle: the commitment to serving their members’ best interests. This philosophy is not just a slogan but a guiding principle that distinguishes credit unions from traditional banks. As leaders in the credit union industry, building on this foundation is essential. Highlighting the genuine care and personalized attention that credit unions offer can resonate deeply with consumers seeking a more authentic banking experience.

Mark Robnett: “It really does start with the members. When I’m among members at events I speak to them about what they like, what they want, and what we can do better; and also speak to our leaders in our SEG groups and hear firsthand how we can leverage the strength of Justice Federal Credit Union to help our members.”

Building Meaningful Relationships: One of the inherent strengths of credit unions is the ability to foster genuine and meaningful relationships with members and the community at large. Unlike large banks, credit unions often operate on a more local scale, allowing for personalized interactions and a deeper understanding of members’ needs. By capitalizing on this advantage, credit union team members and leaders can further solidify their position as trusted financial partners, driving member loyalty and satisfaction.

Mike Valentine: “The key that I’ve always felt is the most important thing is relationships. These are relationships with your members, your employees and your SEG groups. It’s all about relationships.”

Seizing the Switching Opportunity: With 13% of customers indicating their intent to switch financial institutions in the next 12 months (according to the study findings), credit unions have a significant opportunity to attract new members. However, success in capitalizing on this opportunity hinges on strategic and vocal communication. Credit unions must proactively showcase their value proposition, emphasizing their member-centric approach and commitment to community involvement. By effectively communicating these strengths, credit unions can position themselves as the preferred choice for consumers seeking a more personalized and relationship-driven banking experience.

Tansley Stearns: “What I worry about for credit unions is that we are not bold enough with our vision. You as CEO have a real responsibility to paint a picture of what is possible and to give people room to see much bigger than we ever have before. And then the job is to distill that into something we can take on and work through in a year, and three years, and five years.

By remaining true to core values, leveraging inherent strengths, and strategically identifying & communicating the value proposition, credit unions can seize the opportunity to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. Most in this industry are driven by a passion for helping others. During the CUInsight Mini-Con panel discussion, Tansley referred to Filene research that indicated “frontline team members at credit unions, in the way that they see the world, actually align closer to social workers than sales people.” And referencing her team at Community Financial she said, “The team wants to do right by human beings.” I believe that is a great summation of how most in this movement feel.

Together, we can ensure continued success and growth for our credit union movement, and most importantly for the members we serve—and the members we have yet to gain!

To be a part of more conversations with outstanding leaders like the ones above, join us at future events in the CUInsight Mini-Con series, brought to you by Allied Solutions. This virtual event series connects the credit union industry. We feature global speakers, credit union leaders, and strategic industry partners to bring you the latest and greatest for credit unions.

Linda Lafortune

Linda Lafortune

Linda is the Director of Learning & Client Support at CUInsight.  She has an extensive background in the credit union industry having worked in both large and small credit unions, in ... Web: Details