Credit unions do a better job of providing information on their websites than other FIs, but many credit union websites are still lacking important information, according to a recent study by Moebs Services, an economic research firm in Lake Bluff, Ill.
In a major expansion of its annual survey of financial institutions, Moebs Services reviewed website information for 1,676 financial institutions with assets of at least $500 million, the company said.
Researchers reviewed the websites, searching for answers to 15 consumer transaction questions about services, products and fees, the company said, and then Moebs surveyists phoned the call centers of the same FIs to ask the same questions.
According to the results of the study, 40% of credit unions offered the information sought on their websites, while only 28% of banks provided the same level of information on theirs. The study also noted that information on websites was not always consistent with responses from call center staff.
Overall, the study shows only a third of the FIs (32%) offered the information sought on their websites and only 83.7% of the answers were consistent with answers given via their call centers, the company said.
Michael Moebs, economist and CEO of Moebs Services, said the survey points out that websites are underutilized as a source of information for members, and procedures to ensure consistent information, regardless of channel, need to be in place.
Moebs said the survey also highlights areas that credit unions and other FIs need to focus on in order to meet the goals of the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Our goal for this study was to evaluate FIs’ websites as a tool for users," said Moebs. "Websites can be enhanced to provide more data and more consistent information for consumers, which can reduce compliance risk, promote greater efficiency of call center and branch personnel, and foster more sales."