Jan 01 2004

Who Uses Credit Unions? Third Edition

This is the third edition of an earlier Filene report. It uses data from the most recent Survey of Consumer Finance, sponsored by the Federal Reserve, and it updates and reconfirms a number of earlier findings. In particular, we find that dividing the population into those who are either “members” or “non-members” of credit unions can create considerable misperceptions for two reasons. First, “non-members” include those with no financial affiliation. Second, many households use both a credit union and a bank.

The research here continues the earlier work using a five category approach: unbanked, credit union only, predominantly credit union, predominantly bank, and bank only. We analyze data on income, wealth, and demographic characteristics for each of the five groups. We find that these groups differ substantially across many different characteristics. We find that the unbanked have the lowest income and wealth. We also find that households that use both a bank and a credit union have higher income and wealth than those who use only one institution. This is consistent with our finding that households with more wealth are more likely to use more than one financial institution.

Demographic characteristics analyzed by financial affiliation include age, education, occupation, race/ethnicity, gender, and marital status. We find that household financial affiliation is strongly associated with age, education, occupation, and race/ethnicity.