How credit unions can maximize financial inclusion for members

Here is a statistic to perk your eyes and ears: Underserved consumers spent $189 billion on fees and interest across five financial product categories in 2018 that included short-term credit.

It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise when the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) estimates that 57 percent of consumers in the United States, 138 million adults, are financially unhealthy.

Cultural and economic influences also keep many minority and immigrant consumers from accessing established financial institutions like credit unions who can provide the proper financial inclusion tools, services, and mentorship that can help stabilize their lives. Regrettably, they tend to lump credit unions in the same category as any number of larger financial institutions while relying on potentially dubious non-bank players.

The reality is millions of consumers have little to no support from a consistent or reputable financial institution like their local credit union. According to the Federal Reserve, around one in five American adults have no bank account and relied on alternative financial services rather than member-centric credit unions. If credit unions can make a few alterations and initiatives specific to marketing to these target consumers, they may just tap an entirely new member vertical.

 

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