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WASHINGTON – Most credit union members who use online services do business with other financial institutions, but many are willing to switch if it’s easy. That’s according to the 15,750 respondents in the latest Callahan’s Survey Consortium. The survey, taken online in February by members of the 15 credit unions participating in the consortium, shows that 79% of the respondents use more than one credit union, bank or credit card company for their financial needs. Meanwhile, 43% of the respondents with accounts at other providers say they would be interested in switching to comparable accounts at their credit union, and 39% say they would be likely to make the switch online if that was doable. “The survey findings demonstrate a significant opportunity for credit unions to further increase their financial relationships with members by leveraging the convenience of the online channel. Providing online `switch kits’ and online ACH transfers are two of the ways leading credit unions are lowering the perceived barriers associated with moving accounts,” says Scott Patterson, Callahan’s vice president for e-commerce. “A crucial factor seems to be that the switching process must be made extremely easy such as providing online sign-up; otherwise, the changes appear to be less likely to occur,” Patterson says. The survey was conducted online by 15 credit unions, ranging in size from $197 million to $2.6 billion in assets. Patterson says a determining factor whether to transfer accounts might be what type of accounts are held elsewhere. Holders of checking accounts, check cards and direct deposit were least likely to be willing to move while those with share certificates (45%) and credit cards (38%) say they were the most likely to make the change. Web site happiness also was a strong factor. Only about half say they are very satisfied with their credit union site’s ease of use, transaction capability and completeness of information. “This indicates considerable opportunity for credit unions to improve their Web sites,” Patterson says. “We have found that greater site satisfaction has real benefits in terms of product penetration and not losing online users to other financial institutions.” ?

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