Dec 01 2007

The Mind of Low- to Moderate-Income Savers

Report  
Number  
146

This brief reviews the research findings from D2D studies which explored money and savings, and children's financial security in low- to moderate-income consumers.

Nick Maynard
Director of Innovation and New Product Development
D2D Fund, Inc.
Jeff Zinsmeyer
Executive Director
D2D Fund, Inc.
Report Number 146

Executive Summary

The credit union industry and D2D Fund share a common interest: better understanding the mind-set of low- to moderate-income (LMI) consumers regarding personal finances and financial services. For credit unions, attracting LMI customers is important to their mission of “meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially persons of modest means” and an important part of what distinguishes them from other depository institutions. As a nonprofit organization devoted to helping low-income families address their financial service needs—especially the need for saving opportunities—D2D knows it must understand these consumers’ thoughts, feelings, and attitudes about personal fi nance in order to serve them effectively.

What is the research about?

D2D explores LMI receptivity to savings product marketing using a cutting-edge marketing research tool, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET). ZMET is an innovative research methodology that elicits insights about human decision making through metaphors and storytelling. Using a sophisticated interview technique, researchers encourage consumers to create stories and identify images about their feelings related to a topic of study. From these stories emerge metaphors, messages, and imagery that professional marketers use to build brands and products (e.g., “Chevy, Like a Rock”). The ZMET tool can deepen our understanding of how to increase saving activity among LMI households. As a result, the two ZMET studies D2D has undertaken focused on how LMI consumers approach money and savings, and their children’s financial futures.

What are the credit union implications?

With the help of the innovative ZMET research technique, D2D Fund is probing the deepest, most intimate, and least well-articulated feelings of low- to moderate-income consumers regarding money, saving, and financial services. Insights from this research will inform the development of new marketing tools, including collateral, aimed at increasing saving among LMI consumers.