Credit union referral program demographics – Why it works, and who it works on

by: Ryan Fry

In high school, I was the president of the board of directors of a credit union. The credit union was a student project backed by a local CU that was intended to teach us about the cooperative movement, and banking. I’m not sure how long it lasted after I left, it was still there when I graduated. Ironically, I went on to work at a bank all through my university and college, so I like to think that I know a thing or two about what credit unions are all about.

My high school credit union was an experiment by the school to introduce volunteer students to banking, but its secondary purpose was to instill some of the concepts of the whole cooperative movement.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but credit unions are more about community, more about fostering and nurturing membership than the bottom line profits, or making a ton of money for some select few. They’re more about being the local financial institution that people remember from small towns, where everyone knows your name. Like the sitcom Cheers, but in FI form.

This is a value proposition which appeals particularly to older folks, who grew up with more of a sense of community; people who tend to be a little more rural than ‘big city’, and it also naturally appeals to the older generation’s female demographic, being the more motherly and grandmotherly types.

What I’m getting at is, demographically, credit unions members tend to skew on the older side. They also tend to skew female. They also tend to be more rural, and are more likely to own their own homes.


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