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Filtered Research Reports

Member Ease of Use as a Competitive Advantage

Today and into the foreseeable future, ‘easy’ will win the member relationship. Credit unions face evolving competition more rapidly every day. Organizations with outdated processes and technology contribute to a negative member experience. Using qualitative research and east-of-use case studies, Filene explores the impactful role that ease-of-use plays. In addition,...

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...

Member Effort Benchmarking: Measuring Ease of Use

Service failures are not fun, but they are instructive. While it’s still important to track factors like member satisfaction and Net Promoter Score, Filene sought to test the value of using a member effort score. Three primary research questions guided our analysis: What does “good” member effort look like? Once we...

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...

What Millennials Want: The Future of Millennials in the Credit Union System

In a competitive marketplace, attracting the youngest generation is not just good business; it’s a survival imperative. Millennials 18–24 years old have been a key focus for credit unions over the last 10 years—and for good reason: There are nearly 71 million millennials, born between the late 1970s and early...

Room to Grow: Credit Union Business Lending

Credit unions today are restrained by statute and regulation from lending more than 12.25% of their assets to business, unless they qualify for one of several prescribed exceptions. This restriction continues while the commercial banking industry becomes more concentrated and the composition of its largest assets—loans—shifts away from commercial and industrial lending and toward various...

The Personal Touch: Optimizing Feedback Loops in Financial Services

Perhaps no industry in the world collects more consumer data than financial institutions. Banks and credit unions know where, when, and how often consumers spend money and how much they spend. They have intimate knowledge of account balances, borrowing trends, and aggregate spending patterns. They can know when consumers have...

Optimizing Delivery Channels Tool

At Filene’s Optimizing Channels for Superior Member Service Workshop this past spring, Filene Research Fellow and Harvard Business School Professor Dennis Campbell focused on the importance of service excellence across physical, online, and mobile channels. Being able to deliver quality service is the key to driving exceptional member satisfaction over...

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,...

Attributes and Skills of High‑Performing Sales and Service Staff

Hiring the right frontline staff members who can create a member-centric culture while delivering on sales and productivity goals is a challenge. The key is to identify attributes that will help deliver service excellence. This research takes as a given that credit union sales and service culture should be member...

Young Adult Retirement Planning: Do We Have a Future?

This brief is only on the web and not published in the traditional PDF format. Once you sign in to read it, you can navigate by clicking the chapter links at the bottom of the page. With retirement planning not at the forefront of people’s minds, will our members be...

Beyond Engagement: Social Media Drives Business Results

It’s essential for organizations, including credit unions, to not only maintain a consistent presence on social media networks, but also to create an effective social media strategy so they stay relevant in today’s competitive business environment. Many potential new members and new hires will not even consider a credit union that doesn’t have a consistent presence...

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...

Patronage, Loyalty, and Credit Unions’ Shared Surplus

At the base of a member’s credit union relationship lies the promise of surplus—whatever a credit union earns in excess of its expenses is to be used on behalf of or returned to members. Beyond deposit-based dividends, members extend implicit flexibility to boards and managers about how that shared surplus should be...

Next Generation Needs: Examining Credit Union Loyalty Among Young Adults

There’s an often overlooked difference between what attracts members and what keeps members. Credit unions regularly earn the financial services industry’s top honors for loyalty and satisfaction. It’s one thing to measure loyalty in general. But here the researchers are interested in the drivers of credit union loyalty among the coveted young...

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...

Predicting Members’ Choice of Auto Lender: Borrowing from Credit Unions or Elsewhere?

In 2013, auto sales are creeping back toward pre-recession levels (2012 ended with 14.8 million units sold), which is helping credit unions bolster lending. The expanding market also opens up opportunities for growing market share. By unit volume, auto loans are still the largest piece of US credit unions’ lending portfolio. This research was designed...

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,...

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...

In Search of Member-Friendly Noninterest Income

How does a credit unions build enough NII to guarantee that the river of net income doesn’t run dry? The goal of this brief is to balance two important credit union imperatives: the need for NII that supports the operating costs of the credit union, and the imperative that credit...

The Culture of Borrowing and Debt: An Ethnographic Approach

Are your members golden? Are their emotional and financial lives at equilibrium? Filene had two pressing credit union questions: First, how do members conceptualize borrowing and debt, and second, how can credit unions respond to those basic borrowing needs? Eleven credit unions across the country generously supported the research and...

Balancing Member Service with Organizational Efficiency

The credit union business model may not be as simple as others. But the profitability principle is the same: Cut your own costs, or gently charge more. This is the second in a four-part series that identifies and quantifies cost items at credit unions. The series does more than just identify...

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...

Measuring Social Media Success in Credit Unions

Filene researchers use an extended survey period and input from hundreds of credit unions to explore whether social media use correlates with key credit union goals like share of wallet, membership growth, and loan growth. The old saw that correlation is not causation is worth noting, but nevertheless, the correlations...

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...

Creating Member-Centric Organizations

What if one day you dropped all the rules and encouraged employees to do ‘what is right for the member’? What if that meant they could change rates, approve loans for anyone, and solve complaints however they wanted? And what if, as a result of the move, your delinquencies actually...

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...

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...

Exploring Ongoing Member Loyalty: Net Promoter in Credit Unions

It’s well established that credit unions tend to command more loyalty and satisfaction than banks. What’s interesting is how. In Exploring Ongoing Member Loyalty: Net Promoter® in Credit Unions, authors Laura Brooks, Satmetrix and Michelle Bloedorn, Member Loyalty Group, use Net Promoter Scores, credit union case studies, and a cadre...

Design Thinking Through MBA Partnerships

Sometimes the unlikeliest of marriages results in the most fascinating spawn. The collaboration between the Filene Research Institute and Design Concepts, Inc. is a case in point. What could a hip product development firm and a credit union research outfit possibly have to talk about over the dinner table? Quite...

Chrome for Young Adults: Franchise Branching for Membership Growth

Gen Y is a key market segment for credit unions to reach in this recession. Its members still need loans and, compared with older Americans, fewer are deleveraging. The latest CU Tomorrow brief, Chrome for Young Adults: Franchise Branching for Membership Growth explores a retail delivery concept that uses modern...

Member Segmentation and Profitability: Current Practice and Future Possibilities

Given the many advances in the science of marketing and the growing role of segmentation in financial services industries, the Filene Research Institute and the Center for Credit Union Research asked these researchers to examine three key questions about credit union marketing: How do credit unions currently sgement their membership...

Member Satisfaction Levels: National Norms for Comparing Local Survey Results

This report presents the results of a national survey that measured credit union members’ level of satisfaction with different aspects of their credit unions’ services. The report provides national norms on member satisfaction that allow an individual credit union to survey its members and make a direct comparison of its...

Field of Membership: An Evolving Concept

Burger and Dacin examine the evolution of the common bond and field of membership concepts within the credit union movement. It describes the origination of the concepts of common bond and field of membership in the early years of the credit union movement, the effect of the Federal Credit Union...