Survey: Retail Websites May Know CU Members Better Than You

Credit unions may have access to mountains of data, but 59% of their members apparently feel retail websites such as Amazon, Netflix and Zappos know them better than their credit unions do, according to a new survey of 2,201 U.S. adults by financial services software company Segmint.

The results of the online survey, done between March 23 and 27, also suggested that other kinds of financial institutions know their customers even less than credit unions do. Overall, 64% of all U.S. financial institution customers said their financial institutions don’t know them as well as retail websites do. The number was 60% for local community banks, 64% for regional banks and 66% for customers of big national banks. It hit 83% for customers of online-only banks.

“Financial institutions are sitting on a gold mine of customer insights to help them better guide their customers through their financial journey,” Segmint President and CEO Rob Heiser said. “Listening to customer’s transaction data will help banks build meaningful relationships with their customers while earning a greater share of their wallet.”

The survey also asked financial institution customers about communications from financial institutions and other vendors. Segmint found that credit union members were sometimes more likely than other financial institution customers to call spam, ads and direct mail for other products and services annoying. For example, 64% of credit union members said credit card company communications were annoying, compared to just 47% of big national bank customers. Credit union members were also more likely than customers of community banks, regional banks, big national banks and online-only banks to find communication from cable companies irritating. However, communications from retail stores and other banks were much more likely to irk customers of online-only banks compared to other types of financial institutions. 

The data also suggested that credit unions have work to do when it comes to targeting their communications. 

A full 31% of credit union members said the information from their credit unions is irrelevant to them, compared with 28% for customers of local community banks and 41% of big national bank customers. 

However, more than half (54%) of credit union members said they would be open to getting marketing communications from their credit unions — including ads on mobile banking apps or statement inserts — if the information were tailored to their personal financial needs.

Credit unions that don’t follow suit could lose members, the study suggested. About one in four credit union members (24%) said they’d be more likely to switch financial institutions if they got personalized information about things such as credit card, mortgage or auto loan offers from a competitor.

However, credit unions appear to have better chances than other financial institutions do in terms of keeping members and stealing market share. According to the survey, a third (33%) of local community bank and regional bank customers said they’d switch financial institutions if another bank offered more personalized information. For big national banks, the number was 39%; a full 49% of online-only bank customers said the same.

The Segmint survey also found:

  • One third of all bank customers (33%) receive information from their bank that is irrelevant to them.
  • One in three respondents (52 % of millennials and 53% of parents) said they’re more likely to switch banks if they get personalized information about financial offers from a bank they don’t currently use.
  • More than a fourth (28%) of respondents said they wish they had received more information from their financial institution about their mortgage options before they got their first mortgage.

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