Bank Transfer Day: Soak Up the Attention, Then Build Momentum
Bank Transfer Day was lauded for helping to nudge consumers toward credit unions. It was belittled as mere media hype. It was feared it would only bring in deposits and not loans, which would tip delicately balanced capital ratios. It was criticized as not the true driving force behind consumers that switched from the big banks to community banks and credit unions. To a degree everyone is right and everyone is wrong, but so what? The results are what matter in this instance.
It doesn’t matter why consumers switch their banking relationships or who or what deserves the credit so long as consumers make the move. It doesn’t have to literally be everyone on one day to make a point. Bank of America and the other big boys already pulled back on charging debit card or account fees prior to Nov. 5. For now.
More than 80% of credit unions are experiencing membership growth since Sept. 29 based on CUNA’s survey of 5,000 credit unions across the country. Not surprisingly, the credit unions with more than $100 million in assets saw the most pronounced growth. Credit unions larger than $100 million in assets account for just 20% of credit unions but serve 80% of all the credit union members.
The concern, as it always is, is whether these newfound members will make their credit unions their primary financial institution. It’s crucial that credit unions already were prepared for these cross selling opportunities of their loan products. If not, the golden opportunity of Bank Transfer Day will be just a temporary blip on a less than stellar membership growth trend line. The loans don’t have to come on Nov. 5 but, given credit unions’ difficulty in finding loans these day, they do need to come in the door (or website).