According to a TransUnion survey, credit unions are growing at 6.35% annually--a rate which far outpaces the growth of active credit consumers overall. However, this substantial rate of growth is highly concentrated, with almost four-fifths of the increase in membership ascribed to Financial Institution with assets of more than $500 million.
How can smaller credit unions and community banks take advantage of the favorable conditions for growth? By emphasizing five key strategies, you can help your credit union and community banks make this year a tremendous year to grow your Financial Institution.
Understand Your Value Proposition
No Financial Institution can be everything to everyone, and understanding what you can offer to your members--and, indeed, who your target group of members are--is key to continued growth. Figuring out what your core offerings are, creating a "brand" and aligning your marketing efforts accordingly will help build your name among your clientele.
Take Advantage of Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing efforts are often quite expensive, and most Financial Institutions find the costs associated with expanding their physical presence by opening additional branches to be prohibitive. Embracing digital marketing--and social media in particular--can allow a credit union to reach a broad group of potential members without needing the spend nearly as much as physical expansion or a traditional marketing campaign would require.
TransUnion's recent study found that millennials are a key demographic driving credit union growth. In fact, millennials counted for approximately one-quarter of all credit union and community bank customers in the first quarter of 2016, up from just one-fifth of members in 2013.
In particular, millennials are potential new mortgage candidates, an important factor for credit union and bank growth. By targeting millennials through digital marketing and social media, credit unions have a direct and clear path to growth.
Improve Your Online Features
Many financial institutions fall into the trap of thinking that their standard website with basic bill payment and at-home banking features is adequate for attracting customers in today's market. However, as potential customers, across all age groups, embrace the features offered by robust mobile banking sites and apps, credit unions and community banks must keep pace with their competitors' offerings.
Evaluate your web presence with a critical eye to ensure that your site meets your customers' needs for all of your credit union's products.
Refresh Your Physical Facilities
While a credit union's online presence and digital marketing campaigns are extremely important growth drivers, it is also essential not to underestimate the effect that well-maintained branch locations can have for growing a financial institution's customer base. Branches with well-kept exteriors and inviting interiors are one of the best advertisements for potential members--as well as an important tool in retaining current members. In addition, many banks and CUs are creating branches that are veritable community hubs. Some include free internet access, meeting spaces and free coffee or other perks.
If the resources are available, a Financial Institution would be well-served to evaluate their current branches' immediate neighborhoods to determine if a remodel or move to a different neighborhood--or even a different market--might attract more members.