Credit union members feel better about their personal finances than consumers generally and tend to have more money left over after paying monthly bills.
Those are two of the results reported by the "Discover U.S. Spending Monitor," a monthly survey the card brand uses to measure consumer confidence and trends. A Discover spokesman said the brand had become more interested credit union members' economic attitudes.
"Credit unions are increasingly partnering with Discover to issue their members credit cards on the Discover Network, and Discover finds the information from the credit union demographic not only valuable insight for the company itself but also relevant and compelling to the public," the spokesman wrote in response to an e-mail inquiry.
Discover plans to revisit credit union member attitudes quarterly.
The September survey found that 38% of credit union members rate their finances as good or excellent, compared to 30% among consumers at large, and just 17% of credit union members rate their finances as poor, compared to 29% of consumers at large. In addition, slightly more credit union members (21%) believe their finances are improving than consumers at large (19%) and slightly fewer credit union members (48%) believe their finances are worsening than do consumers at large (51%).
But both credit union members and consumers at large reported their confidence in the overall economy has been declining, the card brand reported.
The survey found that 52% of credit union members have money left over after paying monthly bills, compared to just 44% of consumers at large. That makes credit union members a bit more willing to spend money on things like dining out, going to movies or home improvements than consumers at large.
"When you're living paycheck to paycheck, it's understandable to feel less confident about your personal finances," said Kevin O'Donnell, vice president of credit issuance for Discover. "Given that more credit union members say they have money left over after paying bills, it's not surprising that they're more confident about their personal finances and more inclined to make discretionary purchases."
The brand said it started asking the more than 8,000 consumers it surveys each month whether they were credit union members in June of this year. The brand said that of those polled each month, an average of 2500 of those surveyed were members of credit unions.