4 Ways Credit Unions Can Increase their Member Base

by Josh Biggs in Finance on 18th August 2019

Credit unions may have a cooperative foundation, but they’re in fierce competition with each other and huge banking institutions. Credit unions have to compete in the marketplace and increase their market share if they’re going to succeed long term. This requires modern, effective growth strategies that credit unions are often unfamiliar with. Here are four ways credit unions can increase their member base. We’ll also address ways to grow membership without abandoning core principles like serving the under-served and providing excellent customer service.

Embrace Technology

Technology is a boon for credit unions. User-friendly websites and mobile banking allow you to serve your customers at a lower cost. You also have to provide the technology customers require if you want to stay in business.

You don’t necessarily have to invent a brand new app or novel software, however. You simply need to create a website and mobile banking app at least as good as the competition. If you can add cutting-edge technology your customers want like remote deposit capture, for instance, you’ll show consumers that you’re as cutting-edge as the Big Banks and gain new members. Customer relationship management systems and digital communication tools allow you to provide personalized service and targeted marketing at a lower cost per member.

Provide Expert Advice

In a world where you can deposit your money anywhere, credit unions can distinguish themselves by offering expert financial advice. This can include financial advice to debtors, advising everyone in how to manage their finances and wealth-management for those poised to inherit significant assets. A side benefit of this approach is that you’ll attract new members with more spending power. Furthermore, if you help clients get out of debt and build wealth, they’ll remain with you while referring a fair number of friends, too.

Use the Data You Already Have

Use the data you already have about credit union members. Collect it into a single CRM system. This is necessary to providing better service to everyone.

Once you’ve collected all the data in one system, you can begin to segment the data into market segments. You could find trends among those who hold mortgages versus car loans. At a minimum, you can generate targeted digital marketing campaigns based on the products they already own and use event-based triggered promotions. Recommending seminars based on life-stages or financial decisions is the first step to providing the personalized customer service credit union members crave at relatively low cost.

You can build on it by running customer service surveys as well. Becoming an ICBA member gives you access to several case studies on how customer surveys reduce attrition and increase sales opportunities. However, you can’t afford to ignore your customers’ opinions. ICBA surveys found that more than four out of five credit union members thought it was very important that they were asked their opinion. This is why failing to do surveys at all will eventually hurt your organization.

Offer Competitive Products

Too many credit unions are failing because they aren’t offering competitive products to the Big Banks. For example, forty percent of credit unions don’t offer a credit card. This is understandable since credit card programs are expensive to run. However, there are ways to offer credit cards to your members with low fees and little risk to the credit union. The same is true of loyalty programs. By offering competitive products to what larger institutions have, you’ll be able to attract more members.


There are a number of possibilities open to credit unions to increase both membership and assets held. And many of these solutions could end reducing overhead costs as well.




Categories: Finance