Three years in – Awareness is boosting consumer consideration of credit unions

Minnesota recently hit a milestone – 2022 marks year four of the Credit Union Awareness initiative. As the first state to launch in January 2019, we’ve been working hard to move the needle. We built momentum, paused and re-tooled for COVID, and rebuilt again. At our 2021 league planning session, we took a hard look at how to continue. Honestly, it felt that enthusiasm for the program was waning. In the end – we resolved to strengthen our commitment to the initiative – and here’s why. It’s working.

The goal of this research-based effort was to grow awareness of credit unions as the best financial partner for consumers. Digital media ads drive consumers to the website to learn more about the advantages of credit unions. In Minnesota, we supplemented the digital tactics with out of home efforts such as billboards and event marketing. And three years in, we are seeing the initiative make strides in boosting consumer consideration of credit unions.

Our independent research has shown:

  • Campaign ad recall among our target demographic increased from 29% 2019 to 43% in 2021.
  • Consumer familiarity with credit unions has increased 10 points from 2017 to 2020.
  • Consumers indicating they are likely or very likely to join a credit union increased 13 points from 2017 to 55.2% in 2021.

In addition to increasing consumer attitude indicators, we are seeing membership growth in Minnesota as well. NCUA has noted while overall membership in credit unions has grown, as of 3rd quarter of 2021 membership declined at the median, with about 55 percent of federally insured credit unions having fewer members at the end of the third quarter than a year earlier. Over the past 3 years, Minnesota credit unions grew more than most credit unions across the country, ranking in among the top fifteen states, seeing positive growth every quarter. The number of credit union members as a percentage of the population of Minnesota grew from 30.7% in 2018 to 34.5% in 2021 and the rate of growth remains at an historically accelerated pace.

We recognize that this initiative isn’t the only factor in the positive growth we are seeing, however, we are confident it is a factor and a pillar we can build upon if we work together and sustain the efforts we’ve begun. Our independent research confirms that this collaborative, comprehensive effort does make a difference. A collective, sustained, national initiative gives all of us a broader opportunity to encourage more consumers to engage in the tremendous value credit unions bring to our communities.

To perpetuate the movement, we need more, younger and diverse members. Awareness is great, but it’s not enough. We need to continue the journey and move consumers from knowing about us to acting on that knowledge; shifting our strategy from an awareness focus to consideration and conversion; and aligning the messaging with our advocacy and financial inclusion efforts.

We know credit unions are the best financial choice for consumers, and we need to continue to make sure all consumers know that as well.

Mark Cummins

Mark Cummins

Mark Cummins has served as the President/CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network since 2007. Prior to joining MnCUN, he was the President & CEO of White Crown Federal ... Web: Details