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MADISON, Wis. – Credit unions may soon be facing a “borrower shortage,” but can rise to the challenge by planning now to deal with changing demographics, according to a recently released CUNA report. According to the new E-Scan Insights Series report “Exploring Members & the Credit Union Brand,” more than half (54%) of all adult credit union members have left their “prime borrowing years” of ages 25-44. Further, those waiting in the wings (ages 18-24) to reach their “prime borrowing years” are equal to only 5% of the total adult credit union membership. In short, the report points out that the rate at which prime borrowers are leaving is considerably more rapid than those who are gearing up to become “prime borrowers.” Still, credit unions may be a little better off than banks, as survey data suggests that consumers who primarily use banks are even older, on average, than those who primarily use credit unions. The CUNA report also addresses a number of actions credit unions can take to deal with the coming imbalance – not the least of which is to consider the changing demographics of the credit union, and make necessary adjustments. “With such a small percentage of members on deck to replace those in their peak borrowing years, credit unions should first analyze the age distribution of their members and identify the impact on future loan volume,” said Vicki Joyal, vice president of research services for CUNA. “Most credit unions will then need to revise their credit union’s product/service offerings and marketing strategies to better attract students and young adults.” In addition to use of lending services by age, the report provides a concise analysis of member characteristics that drive financial behaviors to help guide strategic planning for branding, marketing, and product management decisions. A number of recent nationwide surveys of consumers and credit union members were researched and compared to familiarize credit unions with member demographics including age, years of membership, education, race/ethnicity, small-business ownership, household income, Internet access, use of financial services, member/consumer satisfaction, branding and positioning, and communicating the credit union difference. CUNA says the report is the first short report of the E-Scan Insights Series dealing with trends, issues, and new products/services that credit unions will need to consider during strategic planning and throughout the year. Upcoming reports in this series will focus on topics such as overdraft services including courtesy pay programs, and credit union employer-provided health insurance. [email protected]

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