Member engagement is regressing, Gallup says

We all know the credit union movement will always have an advantage over banks – member engagement and service is always higher, and, effectively, better. Banks’ need to cater to shareholders on Wall Street doesn’t exist with cooperatives, so credit unions can therefore focus and listen to the people who truly matter – their members, while prioritizing their financial health needs above all.

This level of focus and attention pays off. According to Gallup and reported by The Financial Brand, 73 percent of members who believed their credit union cared for their financial health and well-being were “engaged,” meaning they display an emotional or loyal connection to the cooperative’s brand. Of those members who did not feel their credit union cared for their financial health or well-being, only 20 percent were engaged.

With higher member engagement, credit unions will obviously see palpable increases. Engaged members are clearly going to purchase more products, invest more capital, remain with the cooperative long-term, and be more likely to claim it as their primary financial institution. The question confronting the movement these days materialized out of the same Gallup study. Is that advantage running out of momentum?

Gallup has researched the concept of member engagement in credit unions versus banks for years. Nearly a decade ago in 2014, credit unions sported a +21 percent engagement premium and a +29 percent net promoter score (NPS). By 2021, however, the engagement premium for cooperatives was cut nearly in half to +11 percent, with the NPS dropping to +17 percent.


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