While 63% of members say they trust their credit union a great deal, only 18% of credit union households surveyed place a great deal of trust in credit union financial advisers.
“There is a wide gap between how credit union members view their credit union and their perception of the financial advice they can get from the credit union,” said Tim Kehrer, senior research analyst at Kehrer Saltzman and a co-author of the study.
Members of credit union households were twice as likely to place a great deal of trust in credit unions as banks, and 13 times more likely to have great trust in credit unions than a stock brokerage firm, Kehrer noted.
“Yet they are twice as likely to turn to a stockbroker as their primary source of financial advice instead of the financial adviser based in their credit union,” said Kenneth Kehrer, another co-author and a principal of Kehrer Saltzman.
The authors suggested some reasons for the discrepancy between members' great trust in their credit union and less trust in the advisers that work there.
“One reason may be that they don't find them there,” Tim Kehrer said. “Our research indicates that only 12% of credit unions provide investment services to their members. And many of those that do have an investment services offering do not promote it to their members, who remain unaware that they can get quality investment advice right at their credit union.”
Still, there is a place for credit unions to stand out.
“Credit unions have an incredible opportunity to better serve their members who would prefer to invest where they bank, and capture the lion's share of their members' financial assets,” Kenneth Kehrer said. “But they have to find ways to elevate the standing of their advisors in the eyes of their members.”
The survey includes detailed financial and other data for 2,040 households with a credit union member, which are representative of the 56.2 million credit union households in the U.S., according to Kehrer Saltzman.