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New Study Says Credit Union Members Keep Accounts After They Move

Credit union members tend to stick with their credit unions after they move, according to a new study by Filene Research Institute.

In late 2014, the Madison-based institute surveyed 862 people who moved to a different U.S. city in the past three years to find out whether credit unions and other financial institutions lose market share when people relocate. About 69% of the respondents said they did not change financial institutions after they moved.

About 19% of the respondents said they kept most of their money in a credit union before their move; that number was unchanged post-move, according to the research. Community-based credit unions without robust online banking offerings appear most vulnerable to losing members who rely on branch banking.

Of those who did switch financial institutions after moving, 29% said they did so to be closer to a branch. Another 17% said they switched because the service was better, 17% said they switched because their previous financial institution did not meet their needs and 15% switched for better products. Another 11% said they switched because they preferred doing business electronically, and 11% said they switched because their income changed.

The average American moves once every five years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and though it’s harder to keep long-distance relationships of any kind going, an increasingly digital world is making that easier for credit unions, the research found.

“In order to ensure members feel engaged in any location outside of the branch, your credit union should invest in robust online DIY tools and applications,” writes Manpreet Nat, Filene Research Associate. “The priority should be to broaden access points and service channels to afford members multiple opportunities to stay connected. Moving doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship with your members.”

If adding a collection of digital products and services isn’t in your credit union’s business plan in the near future, joining the Missouri Credit Union Shared Branch (CUSB) network should be. Being a part of the shared branch network affords members peace of mind when they are outside the reach of your brick-and-mortar branches.

Additionally, the Missouri network added six new participating credit unions recently— Altonized Community Federal (Illinois Charted), Holy Rosary, Northland Teachers Community, Mercy, Lutheran Federal (newly charted credit union) and Alliance—bringing the total to 53 participating credit unions with 151 outlets in our network. Four more outlets are scheduled to be live by the end of the summer.

If you'd like to learn more about shared branching, click here or contact Mark Hohenstein, vice president of the Missouri Credit Union Shared Branch Network.