Sep 29 2015

Understanding the LGBT Opportunity in Financial Services

Over the years, credit unions have proactively sought to understand and serve particular consumer segments, such as immigrants, Latinos, and millennials. Similarly, the LGBT community is characterized by a distinct set of financial needs, capabilities, and priorities. With the success of the same-sex marriage movement and the national attention on transgender issues, LGBT persons are testifying to increasing acceptance in society. This report profiles and analyzes the unique unmet needs of the LGBT community in the financial realm. 

For the credit union system, the LGBT community is a potential growth opportunity. Very few financial institutions target this market beyond the occasional marketing message. The first step for many credit unions will be to better understand the unique needs of the community by reading this brief and other secondary research materials. Next, credit unions will want to assess the LGBT market opportunity within their field of membership and identify the credit union’s ability to serve the needs of the market in a differentiated manner. After identifying the market opportunity, most organizations analyze the credit union’s current language in such mundane areas as consumer loan and mortgage application materials. We find that much of the credit discrimination (real or perceived) is based on language that does not align with experiences of the LGBT community. Marketing is a key component of any market niche strategy, and this market is no exception.

This research brief is the first step on your path to better understanding a population with significant unmet financial needs. As this report details, the LGBT community is making major strides to full-scale, open participation in our society, yet large segments of its population continue to struggle against financial marginalization and discrimination. Credit unions were formed to meet the needs of just this type of financial consumer.

Report Number 374