Credit unions have always been viewed in a different light. Our members typically rate us highly from a member satisfaction standpoint and many of our members choose us because we are not-for-profit organizations that are mission, member and community focused. That focus of “people helping people” is even more important in the eyes of members and potential members in these times of divergent attitudes, discourse and uncertainty.
A PwC survey found that financial institutions’ actions during the pandemic have affected trust and loyalty. Of those surveyed, 1 in 3 cited that they had been considering a switch before the pandemic, but because of their financial institution’s actions in 2020, they had no intention of leaving. The reasons for staying put include an increase in trust felt for their financial institution because of the community involvement and the personal communication during the pandemic. The survey also showed that credit union members were the most loyal and least likely to be moving their financial relationship with only 8% of members saying they’d consider making a switch. We should celebrate that, but not rest on our laurels.
Here are three areas to concentrate on now to gain and maintain trust and build meaningful and long-lasting relationships:
Communicate Personally, not Promotionally – A NerdWallet study reported that 3 out of 4 Americans said that they would change their financial behavior after the pandemic. Make the shift now to providing content that is focused on information and education rather than promotion and that will help members alter their financial behavior for good. Now that we are past the initial months of the crisis, we need to maintain our member focus by continuing to communicate that we are here, we are listening and we are ready to help our members in ways that can make the most difference in their financial lives and the well-being of their families.
Position Your Products to Help – A Phoenix Synergistics study found that consumers were interested in getting financial counsel from their financial institution but only 1 in 5 had asked for help. Position your lending offers, for example, as a way to help members save. Talk about how refinancing an auto loan with you could put more money in their month and then add up the savings to show how much a lower monthly payment could save them over a year. Find a way to weave financial education messaging into all your communications so you are providing financial advice in a relevant way and maintaining members’ trust in your credit union.
Demonstrate People Over Profits in Your Community – An eConsultancy report found that now, more than ever, consumers are looking to do business with brands that put people over profits. Members must think of you as demonstrating depth in support of your community. This does not mean that you need to show up with the big check. That’s not the expectation right now. But your members do need to see that you are supporting your community. Help spread the word if your local food bank needs help or there is a community wide call to give blood. Provide your employees opportunities to volunteer and as a credit union support your community where and however you can. Living your values and consistently demonstrating your dedication to the communities you serve through your actions rather than words, goes a long way to maintaining trust and loyalty for your members.