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Filtered Research Reports

fundaMENTAL: The Mind-Money Connection

Understanding why consumers make certain decisions is key to supporting and attracting credit union members. To this end, Filene hosted a colloquium titled: fundaMENTAL: The Mind-Money Connection, and we invited experts to share their thoughts about how people relate to finances and debt, and how they go about making rational...

Generational Money Chatter

As there are currently four generations of credit union members, each with its own, unique attitudes and emotions, it is no longer adequate to assume that one or two voices on financial issues sufficiently represents all consumers. This report provides research-based insights on how each generation views money and finances,...

Money Talk: Shifting the Financial Landscape

Filene’s Center for Consumer Decision Making hosted a colloquium to explore the financial experience of the Millennial generation and elicit insights from researchers and a panel of twentysomethings, providing insights for financial industry leaders.  Filene thanks its generous sponsor for helping to make this event possible.

Confidence in Borrowing Survey: Spring 2017

Every six months Filene conducts a national survey to assess confidence in borrowing. Since our previous survey, there has been little change in consumer confidence, and overall confidence in borrowing remains low. However, having a baseline for consumer intention allows us to dive deeper and explore possible motivations and subtleties...

Confidence In Borrowing: Survey 2016

Knowing how consumers feel about borrowing is useful for predicting their intentions and behavior, and is instrumental for developing strategies to support consumers as they navigate how and when to borrow and invest. Our consumer borrowing survey indicates that confidence is low, with over 80% of consumers feeling worried, concerned...

Relieve the Squeeze: The Sandwich Generation

The sandwich generation consists of millions of working Americans who manage the financial demands of children, while also supporting their parents. They are financially "squeezed" between two generations. This research provides insights to help credit unions understand this population, and offers suggestions for the types of financial products and services...

Larky Pilot: A Mobile Engagement and Rewards Platform

Credit unions strive to engage the next generation of members, to develop business relationships and grow community engagement. These are just three of many goals of a pilot project developed and implemented at Filene Research Institute's Impact program. This mobile-friendly loyalty program was tested among ten credit unions and utilized...

Domestic Violence Recovery Loan Program

The Domestic Violence Recovery (DVR) Loan Program was designed to provide survivors of abuse with an affordable option for removing financial barriers to safety and/or rebuilding after an abusive relationship. This report details the development and initial findings from the implementation of the DVR Loan program from May 2014 through...

Millennial Money Chatter: A Guide to Millennial Financial Discourse

Understanding millennials' attitudes surrounding finances is key for credit unions to develop effective programs for engagement.  This research combines online ethnography (netnography) to gain a better understanding of millennial financial discourse, and in particular, student debt. This research helps credit unions navigate millennial mindsets by providing a look into the...

Enhancing Savings Behaviors of Low- to Middle- Income Families

Managing personal finances is challenging and complex. We all make a great many financial decisions every day, often without thinking deeply about them. But virtually every one of them represents a tradeoff of some kind. Of course, if we were purely rational beings, with infinite time to weigh and evaluate every decision we...

National Banking Preferences

Everyone values something different in their banking relationship. For some its rates and fees while for others its service location and product choice. Consumer banking preferences are shaped by a variety of personal factors such as income level and age. We conducted a national survey of 985 respondents to get...

Consumer Borrowing Preferences and Confidence

Consumer borrowing is an important macroeconomic measure because it parallels consumer spending and serves as important measure of consumer confidence and health.  Loan growth is also of the most important drivers of sustainability for credit unions who depend principally on consumer lending and mortgage lending for the majority of their...

Financial Preferences and Attributes of Middle-Income Investors

The American middle class has a profound market influence and encompasses a diverse spectrum of indi­viduals across a wide household income range. Members of these households generally range from “getting by” to living comfortably. More importantly, they are characterized by their aspirational lifestyles and seek home ownership, family stability, and...

Coming of Age: Young Adults in 2015

It's predicted by 2025 three out of every four workers globally will be millennials. By now, a majority of credit unions understand the importance of engaging young adults. But how? From innovative to simple, there are numerous strategies at your disposal to grow young adult membership. At the core of any...

The Impact of Two-Tiered Banking: How Credit Unions Can Bridge The Divide

For many consumers, payday lending is a dangerous cycle of indebtedness.  Yet, payday-lending services are in high demand. As a result, policymakers and the public watch the steady rise of payday lending with concern. This study traces the emergence and expansion of payday lending outlets in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba...

2014 Consumer Sentiment: Risk Aversion and Household Inequality

The recovery is here but not here. Consumer sentiment, as measured by spending, investing, and borrowing intentions, is an important indicator, especially when growth is lumpy, spread unevenly by region or industry. Feelings of confidence beget investments and risk taking. More importantly for credit unions, confidence leads to member borrowing—for homes, for cars,...

Future of Design Colloquium

Earlier this spring, Filene hosted The Future of Design Colloquium in Austin, Texas. The event highlighted the power of interdisciplinary collaboration, the importance of brand identity, and the significance of consumer engagement. Leaders from a multitude of industries, including financial services, discussed why design thinking should be injected into all...

The Consumer Experience: Financial Institution Preference and Usage Factors

Today's consumers confront a variety of banking options. Factors like personal trust, household income, and convenience all weigh, in different ways, on consumers' preferences between and among banks and credit unions. This report analyzes consumer survey data to better understand these usage factors and allows productive comparisons between institutions. The data...

Future of Payments: Credit Union Implications

At Filene’s colloquium in Salt Lake City, “Future of Payments,” we brought together experts from both inside and outside the credit union system to get a handle on how the rapidly changing payments field will impact our service offerings, revenue opportunities, and member relationships. That said, credit unions can’t afford to take a wait-and...

Seven of the Latest Ideas from Filene i3 (Fall 2013)

In this round of i3, we present seven new ideas of financial products and services for your credit union. These ideas include: Imminent Death: Are We Prepared with a Will? Just4You: You.Lifestyle. Now. Later. Social Cowboy: Because Twit Happens relaunch: Save Up. Start Again. Centsus: Your Money, Your Happiness The...

Channel Costs and Member Behavior

Today’s technology can process transactions, reach farflung members, and do more than ever was possible before. But new channels are costly, and it’s hard to support them without diminishing the use of other, even more expensive channels. This brief is the last in a four-part series that identifies and quantifies operational cost considerations and...

Big Data and Credit Unions: Machine Learning in Member Transactions

Companies as varied as Amazon, Google, Walmart, and Wells Fargo are turning to “big data” for customer insights that will help them serve clients and capture market share. Big data is the analysis of huge data sets, and while individual credit unions may not have the resources of a corporate giant, advances in...

A Practitioner’s Guide to Nudging

There is no shortage of behavioural economics research. A Google search yields more than 4 million hits. But very few behavioural researchers manage to bridge the gap between what their research finds and how practitioners can put those findings to work in real-life settings. Soman and his colleagues cross that divide. Drawing...

Mind over Money: Measuring Health and Happiness among Credit Union Members

It's true: Mental well being and financial well being go hand in hand. This report plots the interrelationships between financial capability and psychological well-being among a sample of 1,600 adult credit union members in the United States. Not surprisingly, the findings suggest that members who appear to have lower financial...

Credit Union Market Niches: Social and Demographic Opportunities

Credit unions that want to juice membership growth face a limited set of options. If the field of membership is not broad enough, the credit union can petition to change it and serve new groups. Often the field of membership is expansive enough, so the challenge becomes how to approach...

Superior Consumer Lenders During the Great Recession

What do ponderous wheels and successful lending credit unions have in common? In his business bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces a telling metaphor for business success: the old-fashioned flywheel. Flywheels turn, not from one big push, but from the input of deliberate regular force. Consumer lending is similar....

The Psychology of Choice Overload: Implications for Retail Financial Services

Imagine for a moment the difference between shopping at Walmart and shopping a high-end boutique on Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue. The sounds are different. The employees are different. The prices are certainly different. In fact, the retail environments couldn’t be much more different, especially in terms of product selection....

The Changing Consumer

Not so fast. That’s the consumer confidence takeaway Filene Research Fellow and McKinsey partner Dorian Stone shared with us at a recent gathering of the research fellows. He also did us the favor of letting us share with you some of the takeaways from McKinsey’s proprietary surveys and analysis. Highlights...

Customizing Consumer Choice in Financial Services

VIEW THE ‘LUNCH WITH ED’ SESSION BELOW NEWS FLASH: Consumers are not rational. They will not always choose credit union services, even if they should. Neither will they search out good information, evaluate their options and then select the best choice. So should we throw up our hands? No. Dartmouth’s...

Consumer Chemistry: Finding Solutions by Looking Outside the System

SIGN UP FOR LUNCH WITH ED BELOW Credit union leaders have been warned that the three “deadly sins” of myopia, inertia, and fear will have a serious negative impact on the industry. But there was only evidence of farsightedness, action, and bravery at FinovateFall 2010. Hurry, we have limited seats...

Selling the Credit Union Difference: Large-Scale Credit Union Branding

Credit union groups, especially statewide organizations, have a keen interest in publicizing the benefits of credit unions. But, what kind of information will entice consumers to join credit unions? Rather than taking a stab at marketing the credit union difference based on a vague sense of what appeals to consumers,...

Debt in Focus: Rethinking Financial Guidance

Two years ago, the six-person Filene i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) team, composed of credit union executives, came to the realization that consumers are embarrassed; they need a trusted place where they can look at their own financial situation before they take the next steps in getting help. And the i3...

Consumer Credit Delinquencies: Why Do Some Choose Credit Cards over Mortgages?

The stigma formerly associated with foreclosure is disappearing or, in locales hardest hit by the housing bust, completely gone. In this brief, Professor Ethan Cohen-Cole shows that the disappearing stigma is coupled with a rational consideration on the part of consumers to maintain liquidity in times of financial hardship. Several...

Debit or Credit: Either, Both, Neither, or How Much?

The new payment mix is more about market share than about which payment dominates or will dominate. Credit unions care deeply about whether consumers use debit and credit cards. Cards tie consumers to their financial institution and are among the few revenue centers credit unions can influence. In addition to...

Pre- and Post- Retirement Asset Portfolios

Is your credit union ready to manage the retirement assets of America’s largest generation? Pre- and Post-Retirement Asset Portfolios draws on the RAND Corporation’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to compare the asset-holding and selling trends between baby boomers and previous generations. The researchers examine important individual variables, like education,...

Overdraft Regulation: A Silver Lining to the Clouds?

Changes to Reg E mean big changes to fee income and credit union profitability. Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin draws on in-depth credit union survey data to estimate that a worst-case scenario could chop credit unions’ fee income by 11% and lower already plunging ROA. Those are the clouds. This...

Silver Lining to the Regulatory Clouds

For credit unions, there’s a real silver lining to the 2009-2010 regulatory frenzy, argues Georgetown Law Prof. Adam Levitin, whose Filene credits include a guide to the C.A.R.D. Act and a soon-to-be-released report on the changes to overdraft. His take, presented to at the Filene Research Institute’s member breakfast at...

Credit Card Availability, Interest Rates, and Usage in 2005-2009

Credit Card Availability, Interest Rates, and Usage in 2005–2009 is the fourth report in a series of Consumer Finance Research briefs authored by Mark Meyer of Filene Research and Luis Dopico of Macormetrix. The briefs based on information derived from the Ohio State University’s Consumer Finance Monthly (CFM) survey. Specifically:...

Using Shared-Equity Agreements to Reduce Foreclosures: Policy and Analysis

In March 2009, Filene teamed with the Michigan Credit Union League and Consumer Researcher Bob Manning, to explore the problem of foreclosures in the state of Michigan. The resulting report highlighted 10 ideas to decrease the number of foreclosures. One of these ideas, Shared-Equity Agreements, struck a chord among league...

Mortgage Borrower Risk Profiles, Delinquencies, and Interest Rates in 2005–2008

Mortgage risk, delinquency, and interest rates have become a critical issue for both lenders and borrowers. To help assess these metrics, we released the brief, Mortgage Borrower Risk Profiles, Delinquencies, and Interest Rates in 2005–2008. This brief contains a high level marketplace analysis of mortgage pricing strategies, a review of...

Harvard Business School Examines Credit Unions

Recently I searched the Harvard Business School case study library for a credit union-specific case. To my amazement no such case existed. How could it be that a system which captures upwards of 10% of the consumer finance market is not the subject of an HBS case? To remedy this...

Consumer Relationships with Financial Institutions

Professor Lepisto’s research is based on a panel of 2,450 consumers who were surveyed in 1991 and will be surveyed again every four years thereafter. His project’s combination of aging-related variables and consumer financial behavior scales will permit measurements of effects of aging on consumer financial behavior, “trigger points” in...

Building High Loan/Share Ratios: Challenges and Strategies

This monograph presents an historical perspective on credit unions’ lending and uses a survey of credit union CEOs to isolate those factors leading to a successful lending program. Burger and Kelly show that loan/share ratios have slipped from pre-1980 norms of 80 percent or more to below 60 percent in...

Personal Bankruptcy: Causes and Consequences

Professors Sullivan and Worden review the current body of knowledge about the nature and extent of personal bankruptcy, draw conclusions about its causes and consequences, and suggest directions for credit unions to follow in combating this growing problem. They show how the dramatic growth in personal bankruptcy is the result...