Trust is key in any relationship – including that between consumers and their financial institutions. For credit unions, this need hasn’t been much of a problem, as many consumers view these community-oriented institutions as ones they can count on.
According to the 2016 Temkin Trust Ratings, credit unions, listed as a subcategory under banks, earned a trust rating of 70 percent, landing in third place on the list.
Credit unions also scored highly in:
- Experience, earning a 77 percent and tying for seventh place.
- Customer service, earning a 70 percent and fifth place.
- Web experience, earning a 69 percent and tying for ninth place.
According to the Credit Union National Association, this trust is what draws in new members.
“The level of trust that’s there, I just feel so safe with my credit union,” Kristen Christian, a cooperative activist, told CUNA. “Anything I need, I know they’ll help me.”
Trust in the cyber age
There are several different ways members trust their credit unions. An important one is trusting their financial and personal information with the institution. At a time when data breaches are a common news story, people everywhere are becoming more aware of what the consequences of a connected world are.
It’s crucial that, not only is consumers’ information safe, but that consumers know they are safe. To nurture this trust, it’s important that credit unions do all they can to keep their information secure and educate their members on how to best manage their identity, both online and in the real world.
Another aspect of trust in the world of financial institutions is the knowledge that a credit union cares about its members’ financial futures. Recent surveys found that credit unions are leading in this respect, too.
One study by Segmint, Inc., found that 51 percent of credit union members feel they can turn to their financial institutions for financial advice. Meanwhile, banking customers who could say the same were fewer in numbers:
- 50 percent of big bank customers agreed.
- 42 percent of regional bank customers said the same.
- 37 percent of local community bank customers concurred.
Additionally, more banking customers than credit union members who took the survey indicated they were less than impressed with their financial institutions’ ability to anticipate their financial needs in a timely manner. Thirty-eight percent of big bank customers said their institution was lacking in this department, while just 28 percent of credit union members agreed.
Where credit unions can improve
Though many consumers feel they can trust credit unions, membership could still use a boost. Segmint found that just 19 percent of survey respondents used a local credit union, whereas more than one-third of respondents use a big bank and 17 percent used a regional bank.
One area of improvement credit unions should aim for is web presence. The fact that credit unions are ranked in the top 10 companies for web experience says they’re doing something right in this regard. But in an age when consumers turn to online content first when researching companies and products, it’s never been more important to have a high-quality website.
Credit Union Times reported credit union members were more likely to be disappointed with information they can find online than bank customers.
“That’s the opportunity,” noted Rob Heiser, Segmint’s CEO, according to Credit Union Times. “They can serve their customers on multiple channels and only increase the relationship they currently have.”