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CUNA Mutual Group Releases New Research on Middle-Income Americans

CUNA Mutual Group has released new consumer research that shows 62 percent of middle-income Americans worry about their financial stability every day1. The company shared these and other insights from the What Matters Now™ research program at the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference.

CUNA Mutual Group has more than 2 million conversations with credit union members each year and a database of more than 65 million credit union members. What Matters Now is part of an annual insights program to learn from middle-income Americans and credit union members alike. TruStage, CUNA Mutual Group’s consumer brand, gathered insights from more than 25,000 individuals using a combination of quantitative, qualitative and social media research methods. It draws similarities and differences between credit union members and broader middle-income Americans in terms of core demographics and lifestyle preferences to show how this population defines success across generations.

“We use consumer insights to continuously improve our member experience including how we develop media plans, design products and optimize each consumer touch point,” says Susan Sachatello, senior vice president, TruStage. “Our goal was to add dimension to what we have learned from middle-income credit union members and non-members alike to become more relevant in their everyday lives.”

Research Insights: What Matters Most to Middle-Income Americans

  • There’s a huge opportunity to serve the unbanked. Thirty-four percent of the individuals included in the research self-identify as having no banking relationship. Understanding this population and engaging them in the credit union value proposition could be a significant source of membership growth2.
  • Financial stability far outweighs simply attaining wealth. Sixty-two percent of middle-income Americans worry daily about financial stability, while only 6 percent defined success as having a lot of money3
  • Middle-income Americans define success based on family, relationships and financial stability first. Middle-income Americans rank raising good/happy kids first (38 percent) and having a great partner relationship second (36 percent) as measures of success in life. Being financially stable ties with staying in good health (33 percent)4.

Credit unions can learn more about this research at

TruStage is sharing what we learned with credit unions to understand the implications then work together to shape our next topic. According to Kim York, senior vice president/chief marketing officer, Ascend Federal Credit Union, among the most compelling insights is how consumers define success:

“People define success more personally; it’s about relationships and work-life balance.” says York. “I like that. I walked away feeling hopeful. It also made me realize that when we’re choosing art for marketing pieces, we really need to focus on kids and families. We need to position Ascend as the go-to source for members seeking stability.”

“We know that what matters most to members evolves over time as people go through different life stages or as our economy fluctuates," says Sachatello. "In fact, 77 percent of the members we talked with said their definition of success has changed over time5. We plan to continue learning from members and will share our findings with credit unions to better serve them, their members and non-members alike.”

What Matters Now underscores the company’s continued focus on middle-income Americans as a primary opportunity for credit union growth and member retention.

About TruStage

Protecting more than 15 million members, TruStage insurance products and programs include, auto, home, life, accidental death and dismemberment and health insurance. They’re available to credit union members across the U.S. and offer compelling and successful ways to build financial security for their families. Credit union members seeking more information can contact TruStage at 888.888.0375.

About CUNA Mutual Group

CUNA Mutual Group was founded in 1935 by credit union pioneers, and our commitment to their vision continues today. We offer insurance and protection for credit unions, employees and members; lending solutions and marketing programs; TruStage™ – branded consumer insurance products; and investment and retirement services to help our customers succeed. More information is available on the company’s website at

Research Sources:

1, 3, 4, 5 CUNA Mutual Group’s TruStage, “What Matters NowTM” survey results. Dec. 2014.

2 GfK Mediamark Research & Intelligence, LLC, 2013 MRI Doublebase, as provided by Hiebing.