Credit Union Member Satisfaction Drops: CFI Survey
Member satisfaction with their credit union dropped to a four-year low in 2016, according to a research group that surveys members annually.
“Credit union member satisfaction has consistently been among the highest of all customer bases measured,” said the CFI Group, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based research organization that annually measures customer satisfaction in several industries.
But this year, on a 1-to-100 scale, satisfaction among credit union customers dropped three points, to 84, the CFI Group said.
The CFI Group said that the decline may be related to continued consolidation in the industry.
“As credit unions grow, as has been the case recently, the challenge of delivering excellent member experiences also grows,” CFI said. “This challenge is particularly acute due to added growth coming from an increase in acquisition activity in 2016.”
CFI identified four areas that it said credit unions should focus on to improve satisfaction.
First, credit unions should develop “member engagement metrics” to measure performance. Credit unions already measure their financial performance, but CFI said they also should attempt to better measure member satisfaction.
For instance, credit unions should attempt to gauge the likelihood that a member might refer someone else to the credit union—a key measurement of satisfaction. Credit unions also should be measuring how likely it is that a member will remain a member.
Second, credit unions must do a better job of attracting and keeping Millennials. CFI reported that Millennials were less satisfied with their credit unions than other members. A larger percentage of Millennials reported having had problems with their credit unions than other members.
Half of the Millennial customers reported that they had been charged incorrect fees or had a deposit credited to their accounts late—a much higher percentage than for other age groups.
The is a particular problem, CFI said, since the Millennial age group provides credit unions with tremendous growth potential.
Credit unions also should strive to deliver fee transparency and be generous with fee cancellations, CFI said, adding if those two goals are met, Millennials are willing to accept lower deposit account rates.
“Millennials bristle at high, complicated, or hidden fees, so much so that they are willing to forgo higher checking or savings deposit interest rates in exchange for a less onerous and more forgiving fee policy,” CFI said.
Credit unions must measure the short-term gains that come from higher fees against the long-term loss of Millennial members, CFI said.
Finally, credit unions should drive to improve their app processes, CFI said, adding that simply providing online banking is not sufficient. Instead, credit unions should concentrate on apps that are intuitive and seamless.
This is particularly important in attracting Millennial customers, CFI said, in the study. For instance, 71% of the Millennials surveyed reported having applied for a loan using an app every few months, compared with 34% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
“Credit unions pride themselves on their member focus,” NAFCU Public Relations Director Patty Briotta, said, responding to the study. The steady membership growth demonstrates that people appreciate the credit union business model, she said.
“The change in this year’s survey figures is an opportunity for credit unions to review their member service practices and further hone them to ensure continued exceptional service,” she added