Is the Credit Union Difference Reaching Consumers?
In my opinion, however, the coverage falls short in delivering the full story on why credit unions are a better option for consumers. I worry that the credit union difference—our voluntary community involvement, commitment to financial education, service to the under-served, and so on—is becoming lost in the shuffle.
The articles I’ve read tout credit unions’ better interest rates and lower fees. Yes, these are important selling points, but they’re not the only ones that motivate people to move their money or remain loyal. We can’t lose sight of our philosophical differences—either communicating them or operating by them—even though credit unions are enjoying large scale, positive exposure.
Going beyond rates and fees is what truly separates credit unions from other financial institutions. Sure, lower fees and better interest rates are important. They motivate a certain population. It seems to me, however, that the most loyal members are those who also identify with—and are impacted by—our credit union philosophy.
So here’s my call to action….
We need to pull at the heart strings, not just the purse strings. And we can’t rely on others to do this.
Communicate how your credit union is helping the community through press releases and letters to the editor of your local paper. Reach out to your members by participating in the community and let them know about your efforts. Share member stories and promote your financial education resources like Seminars in a Box. Make a concerted effort to enhance the member ownership experience.
These characteristics are just as important to share with the world. While positive coverage focuses on credit unions as safe alternative banking solutions with great rates and lower fees, it’s our duty to trumpet the credit union difference.