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Fintech: Developments and Strategic Implications for Credit Unions

A combination of an accelerated rate of change, lower development costs, attractive profit pools, and changing regulatory environments is propelling fintech products into the worldwide marketplace. These new technologies favor nimble financial organizations and create a challenge for credit unions that generally veer toward prudence and vigilance when managing their...

User Experience Design: Insights for Credit Unions

When choosing fintech options, credit unions are uniquely positioned to select products that not only provide state-of-the-art options to their members, but that distinguish credit union value propositions from other financial institutions. This report provides insights for credit unions to leverage their core principles when designing the interface that becomes...

Beyond Personal Finance Management: Insights for Credit Unions

Personal financial management (PFM) has come a long way—from Managing Your Money and Quicken 98 to Mint and the proliferation of branded apps from every retail bank, credit union, insurer, and ambitious fintech start‑up.  With smartphone data bandwidth getting cheaper and the semantic web data mapping users’ transactions, locations, lifestyles,...

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...

Financial Soundness of Canadian Credit Unions

This study challenges an emerging narrative in Canada that credit unions might pose a risk to financial stability because they are not overseen by Canada’s federal regulator, which, rightly or wrongly, has been credited with helping keep large Canadian banks out of trouble. The study does so by assembling simple,...

Credit Unions: Financial Sustainability and Scale

U.S. credit union system trends are clear and consistent: consolidation is steady, regulatory pressures are increasing, the largest credit unions perform better as a group than their smaller counterparts and the service demands of consumers and regulators continues to expand. During the last two decades credit union performance has begun to...

Assuring Member Financial Capability: A Shared Credit Union Approach

Credit unions have a basic, long-standing interest in helping their members become more financially capable. Within the financial industry, credit unions have a competitive advantage in their member service mission. They have long been innovators in financial capability. Credit unions of all sizes offer financial training in many forms: in-person...

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...

It’s a Money Thing: Clever Financial Education Content Increases Engagement

Since the recession of 2008 many players have rushed to the financial literacy marketplace. In January 2010, President Obama created the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability and charged them with “assisting the American people in understanding financial matters and making informed financial decisions." Over 20 states now require that...

Accessible Financial Services Incubator

According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, there are now more than 20,000 payday lenders across the country—which tops even the ubiquitous McDonald’s storefront by roughly 40%. These alternative financial services providers offer short-term loans at interest rates that can top 400%. They appeal to desperate consumers with no access...

Reaching Minority Households: Learning from Minority Credit Unions

A recent FDIC survey of 40,998 households estimates that 34 million households in the United States are unbanked or underbanked. These challenges are especially difficult for many minority households. The FDIC survey found 54% of black and 46% of Hispanic households to be un- or underbanked, well above the national...

Rightsizing Big Data for Credit Unions

Do you think your credit union is data savvy? Or do you have a huge challenge ahead to become more data competent? Click on the assessment tool above to find out where you’re at and get some tips on how to be a more data-driven credit union. This report explores...

Blueprints for Innovation: The Latest Concepts from Filene i3, 2015

Over the past eight months, teams of Filene i3 innovators have developed radical new solutions to address consumer and credit union challenges. Ballooning student loan debt. Financial security during stressful life events. Maximizing value from credit union conferences. And the list goes on. Teams of innovators in Filene’s i3 (Ideas Innovation, Implementation)...

Turmoil in Payments

Login to download the full report and click on the button above for a slide deck on the evolution of payments. Payments is perhaps the most dynamic topic in financial services today. To paint a picture of the shifting landscape, Filene completed more than two-dozen expert interviews, conducted a survey to...

Living on the Financial Edge: New Debt Challenges for At-Risk Americans

How financially capable are Americans? Over the last year, Filene has released a series of reports on the financial state of four groups that are essential to healthy credit unions—Gen Y, pre-retirees, Hispanics, and women. The data paints a troubling picture of various American subgroups’ financial capability. Take the quiz to test...

The Gender Gap: Troubling Financial Capability Findings among Women

The tide is coming in. As women work, earn, save, spend, and invest, they are becoming a more powerful driver of the US economy. Fully 58% of women in America were working at the end of 2012, up from 44% in 1972 (US Department of Labor 2015). And one estimate puts private wealth...

Financial Capability among Highly Educated Hispanics

 Hispanics are becoming influential players in the US economy. The purchasing power of Hispanics was $1.2 trillion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $1.5 trillion by 2015. The United States is now home to 52 million Hispanics; by 2050, this number is expected to grow to 133 million. US Hispanics, on average,...

Survey of Co-operative Capital

Capital underpins co-operatives. From financial institutions to fisheries, members come together to pool capital and do more together than they could alone. But the other side of the capital coin is that when co-operatives can’t get enough, because of either regulation or long-standing practice, they may get bogged down or fail to get off the...

Blueprints for Innovation: The Latest Concepts from Filene i3, Fall 2014

If you look at a graph representing the number of credit unions in the United States over the past decade, you’ll notice it closely resembles the downward slope of a double black diamond ski run. By most accounts, this decline can be attributed to the difficulty many small credit unions...

The Gen Y Imperative: Six Lessons for Australian Mutuals

As the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have moved through each decade of their lives, they’ve shaped the economic, political, and social landscape. As the boomers’ Gen Y children (born somewhere between 1980 and the mid-1990s) continue their own world-shaping journey, marketers are well aware that they “ain’t seen nothing yet” in...

A Road Map for Worldwide Financial Services Innovation

Is it possible for innovation in the financial services sector to create positive results for the "little guy?" Or is financial services innovation, by its very nature, just about creating profits? Cooperative financial institutions are mandated to put people before profits, so they must apply the filter of increased member...

Retail’s Digital Renaissance: Cross-Industry Insights

The digital revolution has upended the retail industry. Due to the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets, consumers have gradually modified thier consumption habits. Online and mobile shopping are changing the role of the physical store to accommodate consumers demanding a seamless experience whether they’re shopping in a store...

Financial Capability Near Retirement: A Profile of Pre-Retirees

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” We all want to surrender from the workforce on our own terms. Whether retirement comes early or late, financial planning is necessary. Gone are the days where everyday workers could rely on a...

Segmenting Canadian and American Immigrant Prospects

Immigrants come from a variety of backgrounds – different countries, ethnicities, education, and experiences. North America has a proud and storied history of welcoming people from all over the world. For financial services, this presents a continual opportunity to engage.   In fact, in both Canada and the United States,...

Lower Interest for Timeliness (LIFT) Pilot: Final Report

Lenders have always relied on financial punishment and penalties to ensure borrowers repay their loans on time. Rarely do we ever see borrowers being rewarded for responsible and timely repayment. In 2011 an i³ group sought to explore this issue. The result was LIFT: a product concept designed to lower...

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...

Gen Y Personal Finances: A Crisis of Confidence and Capability

Generation Y is the largest, most diverse generation America has ever seen. Generation Y is made up millions of individuals born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. While this generation is young, ambitious, educated, and optimistic, many Gen Yers lack adequate personal financial management skills. As a result,...

Credit Union Capital Adequacy: What’s New and What’s Next?

Credit unions’ long-standing inability to access alternative capital impairs their stability during times of stress and their ability to grow in both good and bad times. Michael Andrews outlines the mismatch between credit unions and investor-owned banks, with special attention to the implications of Basel III capital guidelines, prompt corrective...

Nine of the Latest Ideas from Filene i3 (Spring 2013)

In this round of i3, we present nine new ideas of financial products and services for your credit union. These ideas include: HomEase: Eases the Anxiety of Home Financing CUnited: Match. Connect. Collaborate. WheelChoice: Cut the cost. Share the value. Living Your Legacy: One Milestone at a Time The Credit...

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...

Leadership & Results: A Study of Canadian Credit Unions

The research behind this report asks the question: What makes a good credit union leader good? In early 2012, 22 of Canada’s 30 largest credit unions participated in this study of leadership and results. The study included the collection and analysis of 485 leadership surveys, as well as growth in membership...

Financial Services Needs of Immigrant Communities in Canada and the United States

This report is the result of a collaboration between the Filene Research Institute and Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC). It aims to introduce the context, challenges, and nuances of serving immigrant communities. The report is broken down into four chapters. The first outlines demographic trends of the immigrant populations in Canada...

Using Design Thinking to Serve the Underserved

The creation and delivery of products and services to people are at the core of any business. As dumbfoundingly simplistic as that sounds, developers and decision makers often overlook, or make assumptions about, the very people they’re serving as they design for them. Design thinking refers to a set of methods and...

Engaging Young Adults: Insights from Thrivent Financial

A few years ago, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans woke up to a new problem. On one hand, the organization had built itself into a high-performance Fortune 500 company, grown membership to more than 2.5 million people, consistently received (and still receives) many of the highest possible ratings in financial services,...

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...

From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability

The old proverb goes, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Consider a chain that links consumers’ current financial status and well-being with their ideal situations. Where is the stress point? We need look no further than consumers themselves. “From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability,” the May...

Investor Education for Credit Union Employees: Survey Results for Wisconsin

Ever since “promoting thrift” was codified as a core value in the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, credit unions have been interested in ways to help members manage their money well. That task can extend from offering good and basic financial products all the way to offering complex financial...

“We Don’t Do Banks”: Financial Lives of Families on Public Assistance

This brief highlights the role policymakers can take in easing the financial lives of financially tenuous citizens, but credit unions with members or potential members in the same straits can take a more immediate role by making sure that, for all its popularity, cash is only one of several good...

Now Showing: The Best in New Financial Technology

Some things are just meant to go together. Peanut butter and chocolate. Batman and Robin. And Filene and Finovate. Click here for the Executive Summary in a new format. Bringing credit union leaders from the industry’s think-and-do tank to the premier event for financial services innovations is a natural extension...

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....

Credit Union Financial Sustainability: A Colloquium at Harvard University

This report documents the presentations and discussions of the Credit Union Financial Sustainability Colloquium at Harvard University, which combined insights from academia and business to make a stark assessment of how sustainable the credit union business model appears. With the exception of some individual credit unions, the trends are sobering....

The Florida Financial Hurricane: A Credit Union Risk Management Case Study

Do you know your credit union’s risks? Are you sure? This latest publication from Filene takes a deep dive into the always confounding world of credit union risk management with real-world examples. This case follows the plight of Sunbeam Credit Union in Florida, a real credit union whose name has...

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...

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...

The Future of Member-Facing Technologies in Credit Unions

By the end of 2011, smartphones will outsell standard cell phones, and consumers will continue to defect from bank and credit union websites to pay billers directly. The Future of Member-Facing Technologies in Credit Unions, by tech expert Ron Shevlin, grapples with the changes in consumer habits and what they...

Big, Small, or Online? Young Adults’ Evolving Financial Preferences

Does your Website double as a ‘sales prevention tool’? If so, you need to fix that … and soon. Researcher Rob Rubin uses a 1,400-response survey to tease out the preferences online consumers, particularly young adults, harbor for their financial relationships. Learn why ‘good service’ often simply means ‘suitable’ electronic...

Withstanding a Financial Firestorm: Credit Unions vs. Banks

This report contributes to the regulatory debate by comparing the financial stability of banks and credit unions from 1986 to mid-2009, a period that covers several business cycles and ends during some of the most pronounced effects of the Great Recession. Starting from the observation that unemployment coincides closely with...

Delivering Financial Education to Graduating College Students

Despite significant investments in financial education in the United States over the past 10 years, young adults lack adequate knowledge of personal finance facts and tools to navigate the financial marketplace. In this special report made possible, in part, by PSCU Financial Services, researchers Bob Hoel and Ron Smith found...

Reaching Generation Debt: New Products and Strategies

In Filene’s final CU Tomorrow brief we invite Anya Kamenetz, a staff writer at Fast Company magazine and the author of Generation Debt, to address the question: How can credit unions better serve young adults? Included is Kamenetz’s take on the core financial issues facing young adults in America and...

Financial Reporting by Credit Unions in the United States

This paper documents the accounting practices and the level of disclosure by U.S. credit unions. Such evidence will increase understanding of the role of financial reporting for credit unions and is important for evaluating the potential merits of additional regulation in this area. Professors Warfield and Henning examine whether current...

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...

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...

Deposit Insurance Reform: A Plan for the Credit Union Movement

The horrendous losses experienced in the Savings and Loan debacle and the more recent revelations of losses facing the banks’ insurance fund have raised major questions about deposit insurance. Professor Edward Kane was asked to examine the issue of “How to design a deposit insurance system that effectively monitors and...