Report
346
Number
Jan 05 2015

Choosing Relevance: How Credit Unions Can Harness Transparency and Show Impact

As the credit union system completes its first century, technology raises new opportunities and new threats. Competition for financial services is intense. Institutional transparency and transactional fairness are required to meet post-2008 financial crisis and Great Recession member, regulator, and media demands. A three-year study of 10,000 young adults showed that all four of the leading US banks are among the 10 least loved by millennials.  In this environment, impacts-aware products and services offer a renaissance moment for credit unions to rethink and rebuild relevance in attracting members from post–baby boomer generations, the 18- to 46‑year-olds of today.  

A range of credit unions, with assets from $27 million to $11 billion, were interviewed for this report to better understand the potential credit union roles and services in supplementing the life-cycle challenge, literacy, and financial capability of members and their communities. Credit unions can help members and groups understand and make sustainable choices.

Credit unions will look better to consumers and to regulators if they show:

  • Impacts: Credit unions should show how they help members navigate life-cycle and other financial challenges in normal and turbulent economic periods.
  • Transparency: Credit unions should use business intelligence to see, show, and share impacts benefiting members and the communities that they serve.
  • Competitiveness: Credit unions must invest strategically in user-facing technology.

Credit unions are navigating through a transformative era in which members’ needs are evolving and disruptive technologies are influencing service delivery. The time is now to refocus so that your credit union is positioned to deliver measurable impact in the digital age. 

Filene thanks our generous supporters for making this research possible. 

Report Number 346