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THE WOODLANDS, Texas – According to analysis of survey data by D.Hilton Associates, only one in five credit union members say they are extremely satisfied with their credit union, although nearly one in three say their credit union’s performance has exceeded their expectations. D.Hilton said the analysis shows that approximately three of every five members regularly conduct business with another financial institution. “Looking at overall satisfaction figures really can be misleading,” said Brian Kidwell, vice president of strategic research for D. Hilton. “Loyalty and product use is the key to improving business. Extremely satisfied credit union members tend to use more products, maintain higher account balances, and have more profitable relationships over time.” Kidwell pointed out that the findings give credit unions good reason to keep working to move members from simply satisfied to extremely satisfied status. Increasing member satisfaction is a method for building loyalty. He noted that those members who are extremely satisfied are both the credit union’s best potential customers for products and the most likely to recommend the credit union to others, which makes them good targets for promotional materials The survey findings also offer credit unions reason to question whether they are getting the lion’s share of their members’ business for either savings or loans. For example, when asked to estimate their average household savings balance in a given month, 26% indicated they maintained $10,000 or more at the credit union while 44% said they maintained $10,000 or more elsewhere. On the loan side, 24% of members estimated their loan balance at the credit union in a given month was $10,000 or more while 29% said they maintained a loan balance of that size elsewhere. DHA’s findings also indicate that employment still influences credit union membership. Among those surveyed, 61% achieved eligibility for membership in their credit union as an employee or retiree of an eligible employer, and 60% have been a member of their credit union for more than a decade. Demographically, 65% of the members are 45 years of age or older and 49% of them live in households with incomes of $50,000 or more. The average household size for survey respondents is 2.73 persons while the average members per household was 1.92. “We encourage credit unions to conduct member surveys before they begin their annual strategic planning process,” observed Brian Kidwell. “As these findings show, it’s not enough that members say they’re satisfied with your performance. You have to look at their behavior and where they’re actually taking their money when they open a new savings or loan product.” D. Hilton Associates, founded in 1985, specializes in consulting with credit unions on a wide range of topics. In addition to its work in Market Research, the firm’s practice areas are: Marketing and Advertising, Management Recruiting, Merger, Retention and Retirement, and Human Resources. For more information on DHA and its services, call (800) 367-0433 or visit www.dhilton.com.

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