Oct 14 2021

What’s the Bottom Line? Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Practices and Credit Union Performance

Report  
Number  
548

The research is clear: when your DEI policies and practices are bundled together to advance strategic goals, your credit union is more likely to improve operational performance, financial returns, and mission fulfillment.

Quinetta Roberson
Quinetta Roberson
Ph.D., John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Management and Psychology
Michigan State University
McKenzie Preston
McKenzie Preston
Doctoral Candidate, Management, Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Report Number 548

Executive Summary

Do diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices and policies affect credit union performance? Many credit unions feel pressure to create a program of investments in DEI practices—but how can they ensure that these policies will have an impact and offer a return on that investment? This report reviews existing research and suggests a new approach likely to affect performance—DEI practice bundles.

  • DEI practice bundles move beyond a focus on best practices and identify sets of complementary practices that reinforce an organization’s value for, and commitment to, DEI.
  • The bundle that shows the most promise for improving credit union performance is the DEI strategy bundle. Firms with diversity related to, and supportive of, their strategic goals were found to realize performance gains from such diversity. 
  • Strategic approaches to DEI may focus credit unions on how DEI practices create value and relate to the achievement of business goals, thus helping them to realize the benefits of diversity in ways that enhance credit union performance.

Why It Matters—A Credit Union Perspective

Observing the changing demographics of their workforce and markets, many credit union executives will feel pressure to fly a DEI flag, and to follow it with a program of organizational investments. 

"This research suggests that taking this bundle approach—organizing DEI efforts across nine synergistic sets of practices with performance measures—can offer credit unions a measurable impact on performance."
Paul Kundert
President/CEO
UW Credit Union

However, without a strategic approach which incorporates complementary practices (here called “bundles”), credit unions may fall short of the performance impact they were expecting.

This research suggests that taking this bundle approach—organizing DEI efforts across nine synergistic sets of practices with performance measures—can offer credit unions a measurable impact on performance.

To put this research into practice, download the report.