LAS VEGAS — Call the message delivered in Neil Goldman’s California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues conference keynote a decidedly mixed bag.
Goldman, a longtime researcher into consumer attitudes, said Tuesday that the good news is that many consumers truly dislike banks.
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“The good news is that banks – with poor service and too many fees – have opened a lane on the PFI highway,” said Goldman, who elaborated that means primary financial institution, which is the place any credit union ought to aspire to be in a member’s life.
“The bad news for credit unions,” elaborated Goldman, “is that the lane is filled with roadblocks.”
He pointed to polling where “60% believe the credit union door is shut to non-members.”
He added that banks “are seen as more comprehensive. Credit unions own personal service and price. But banks own technology and convenience” and the worse news is that a generation of consumers is putting a primacy on technology features – such as mobile banking and mobile remote deposit capture – where credit unions have lagged.
“Go mobile. It’s the fast lane to more members.”
Goldman also warned that the temptation to impose fees on checking should be resisted: “This is the key differentiator. For the credit union industry this is the equivalent of the Southwest Airlines’ policy of ‘bags fly free’,” said Goldman.
Goldman’s bottom line: the credit union has an unprecedented opportunity to capitalize on the weaknesses of banks in their customer relations – but credit unions “need to build awareness of their benefits.”