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New research method from Filene offers credit unions custom insights against benchmarks

Survey results reveal “bundles” of DEI practices to have organizational performance impact

MADISON, WI (December 30, 2021) — Newly revealed data from a first-of-its-kind research project provides a benchmark for the reach of established DEI efforts in the credit union industry and correlating impacts on business performance. Customized indexes provided to each participating organization offer a methodology that can transform how DEI is practiced not only at credit unions, but organizations across all industries.

In exploring how credit unions have pursued DEI at the organizational level, Filene Research Institute Fellow leading Filene’s Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Quinetta Roberson and her collaborator, researcher McKenzie Preston, have identified a new paradigm for the implementation of DEI, one that emphasizes the importance of enterprise-wide alignment and the transformational power of DEI for the credit union value proposition and overall business model.

Survey results found that individual practices do not matter on their own. DEI policies and practices are best implemented in clusters or “bundles,” and that an integrated, strategic approach to DEI produces the most impact for organizations.

Specifically, this project discovered that three bundles drive credit union financial performance more impactfully than others: Strategy, Goals and Tracking.

Credit unions employing these bundles correlated with a higher return on assets and higher net income more than credit unions who did not. Five additional practice bundles were found to support other desirable business objectives not examined in the study, such as mission fulfillment and staff attraction and retention.

Participating organizations’ customized indexes compare their individual responses to the credit union system as a whole and provide specific recommendations for next steps. These indexes therefore also help credit unions take a more informed and strategic approach to advancing their DEI efforts.

“The research suggests that taking this bundle approach—organizing DEI efforts across different sets of practices with performance measures—can offer credit unions a measurable impact on performance,” said UW Credit Union President & CEO, Paul Kundert.

The project collected 304 responses to the system survey from 232 unique credit unions and system partners. This corresponds to a 4% response rate for the entire credit union system, representing approximately 25% of all credit union assets.

Filene is preparing for the second iteration of the Credit Union DEI Policies and Practices Survey, launching March 2022. Two new research hypotheses will be explored to build upon findings from the 2021 project:

  • What other success metrics do DEI practice bundles affect, beyond standard measures of financial performance such as ROA and net income?
  • How do DEI practice bundles affect firm performance—is it from enhanced internal operations, improved services or messaging to members, both, or something else?

All credit unions and system organizations are invited to participate and will receive a personalized index similar to this sample. Contact Filene’s Senior Director of Research, Taylor C. Nelms at taylorn@filene.org to get more information.

Generous support for the Center of Excellence for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is provided by Advantis Credit Union, AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Civic Federal Credit Union, Desert Financial Credit Union, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, LGFCU, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, State Department Federal Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, UNFCU, University of Michigan Credit Union, UW Credit Union, and Visions Federal Credit Union.


Contacts

Holly Fearing
608.661.3758 | hollyf@filene.org

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