A focus group made up of representatives from 10 large businesses in varying industries said credit unions just don’t have the products or technical expertise they need from a financial institution.
The focus group was coordinated by a market research firm for CU Business Group in Portland, Ore., the business services CUSO said.
The group consisted of owners, CEOs, and accountants at businesses with annual sales ranging from $1 million to $10 million.
Participants were asked about their relationship with their current financial institution, the products and services that were most important to them, and their perception of credit unions.
Some of the respondents said credit unions haven’t marketed their business services to them, while they get contacted by larger banks on a regular basis, according to CUBG.
“Just call me and take me to lunch,” stated one participant. “I never have been contacted by a credit union so why would I even consider them?”
Overall, participants shared that technological sophistication and expertise were key, almost unanimously agreeing that online banking was the product or service that was most important to them, CUBG said.
Businesses use this for everything from checking balances and transferring funds to remote deposit capture, cash management and ACH origination.
The focus group participants said another important factor in choosing their bank was branch locations so that their employees can have access to services.
While all agreed that credit unions were “great for personal, friendly service,” they can’t see credit unions meeting their business needs.
One participant specifically mentioned that using a national bank makes his business seem larger and more sophisticated, while using a credit union would make his clients think he was a smaller organization, according to CUBG.
In particular, he shared that he didn’t believe credit unions could handle his international banking needs.
“It is sometimes difficult to look in the mirror, but always beneficial,” Ted Rosen, president of Expert Business Development LLC, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based financial service management consultation firm. He spoke to attendees at CUBG’s recent Business Services Conference after the focus group’s video was viewed.
Larry Middleman, CUBG president/CEO, said the goal of commissioning the focus group was to gather important feedback on banks and credit unions from larger, more sophisticated businesses.
“This is very eye-opening. Many credit unions are considering expanded business services and this session (provided) excellent direction for what is needed to serve larger businesses,” Middleman said.
He added, “These will be some of the most profitable relationships at the credit union and it is imperative that we know what it takes to win them over.”
Middleman said credit unions interested in viewing the video-taped focus group session, can contact CUBG.