Monday, April 3, 2017

Four Things Credit Unions Should Know About Non-Members

What do you think of when you hear the term “non-member?” It seems pretty simple, right? Individuals without a credit union affiliation. But, would it surprise you to learn that one out of every four people with credit union products doesn’t identify as a credit union member?

On March 31, we released our What Matters Now™: Insights from the Non-Member research, which focused on the lifestyles and attitudes of non-members and beyond.

Here are some key insights from the research to help you better understand, connect with and serve these groups:

1. Credit union membership isn’t black-and-white. Our research identified three distinct sets of consumers that present opportunities for credit unions. Referred to holistically as the opportunity segment, the groups break down as follows:

  • Partially-engaged members (15 percent of hardworking families). They have a credit union relationship, but don’t see the credit union as their primary financial institution.
  • Disengaged members (12 percent of hardworking families). They are credit union members, but don’t perceive themselves as members.
  • True non-members (51 percent of hardworking families). They have no credit union affiliation. 

How can your credit union use this information? Each of these groups represents different consumer mindsets and has distinct needs, behaviors and perceptions of credit unions. You should understand these groups individually, so you can reach each audience where they are, with the right message, at the right time.

2. Almost half of bank users do business with a local or regional bank. Ninety-four percent of non-members have a banking relationship of some kind. Slightly over half (53 percent) bank at a large national bank, 20 percent use a regional bank and 27 percent bank locally. This suggests nearly half of consumers are working with a regional institution and might be comfortable switching to a similar institution, like a credit union.

How can your credit union use this information? Many non-members said they picked local and regional banks for the locally-owned feel and personalized service they receive. These ideals align strongly with credit unions, so play up the credit union difference in your messaging.

3. Consumers within the opportunity segments are younger and more racially diverse than engaged members. So are new members. The opportunity segment was more likely to be a millennial or from a race other than Caucasian. This group also puts a high value on brands that reflect their cultural identity and are likely to choose a financial institution based on a personal recommendation.

How can your credit union use this information? Understand your current and potential members are not one-size-fits-all. Weave in marketing messaging that aligns with each group’s distinct needs. Also, consider starting a referral program if you don’t already have one to reach these groups via word-of-mouth marketing.

(Bonus: Review our 2016 What Matters Now research for insights into how your credit union can best reach millennials.)

4. Disengaged members worry about financial stability more than any other group. Fifty-four percent of disengaged members worry about their family’s financial stability on a daily basis. That’s more than engaged members (45 percent), partially-engaged members (41 percent) and true non-members (43 percent).

How can your credit union use this information? The path to financial stability is not always clear and the opportunity segments acknowledge this. However, this audience can benefit from a strong financial partner like your credit union. But, they might not know about the benefits of membership. Promote any free financial workshops you host, your low interest rates, surcharge-free ATMs, financial incentives for opening or using accounts and other benefits you offer that can help them.

To learn more about true non-members and the opportunity segments, and how credit unions can best attract, retain and engage these groups, visit

How are you engaging with non-members?