Credit Unions Outpacing Banks in Membership Growth
Credit union membership is growing at a much faster clip than at other financial institutions, according to a just-released TransUnion study.
TransUnion reported that during the first quarter of the year, credit union membership grew at more than three times the credit activity at other financial institutions. Credit unions experienced a year-over-year growth rate of 6.35% at the beginning of the year, while industry credit active consumers grew at 1.86%.
And some of that growth may be attributed to millennials. In the first quarter of the year, 25% of all credit union members were millennials, compared with 20% in the first quarter of 2013. Millennial growth at non-credit union financial institutions was slower—25% in the first quarter of the year, compared with 23% in the first quarter of 2013.
“Credit unions are growing much faster than the industry,” said Nidhi Verma, senior director of research and consulting for TransUnion.
The research findings and a survey of 96 credit union executives were released today at the company’s annual credit union seminar in Las Vegas.
In the survey, half of the credit unions said they were significantly or somewhat more capable of competing with banks than they were a year ago.
While credit unions are developing innovative products, there’s no secret to remaining competitive, said Ron Collier, CEO of the Indiana Members Credit Union, an Indianapolis, Indiana-based credit union with $1.6 billion in assets.
“We’re competing the same way we’ve always competed—through better service,” he said.
Credit unions naturally are attractive to younger people, according to Mike Long, executive vice president and chief credit officer at the University of Wisconsin Credit Union, a Madison, Wisconsin-based institution with $2.2 billion in assets.
“Our business model works particularly well with young people,” he said.
The survey found that 42% of credit union executives reported an overall year-over-year member growth rate higher than 5%. Credit union memberships via mortgage origination increased 4% year-over-year compared with 2015.
The survey also found that auto loans rank at the top of loan growth during the next year. That continues a trend; credit union auto membership grew 9.8% year-over-year from the first quarter of 2016 compared with the first quarter of 2015.
Credit cards were a lower priority for credit union executives and the survey found that 69% of the executives reported that more than half of their members do not have a credit card with the credit union.
Long said 54% of his customers don’t have credit cards through his institution.
“We just have to get better at innovating that product,” he said.