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CU Perceptions: How Bank On More Moved the Needle

This is the final installment of the CU Perceptions series. 

To test the effectiveness of Bank On More, the statewide consumer awareness campaign designed to inform nonmembers of the benefits of membership, MCUA commissioned a public opinion poll. The public opinion poll consisted of focus groups and an online survey that concluded in February of 2015. The poll was designed to gauge awareness across the state and compare the results with a previous survey from 2011. The 2011 survey served as the benchmark for credit union awareness in the state prior to the launch of Bank On More.     

2015 Key Findings 

  • Key messages resonate more when focused on the positive aspects of credit unions, versus the negative aspects of banks. Focus on the community, local, non-profit, fewer fees, better interest rates.
  • General awareness is improving as 21% of nonmember respondents knew quite a bit/great deal or some about credit unions. 
  • Continued education of credit union members is key to make sure they understand the full range of benefits that credit union membership offers them, and how this is different from a bank.
  • Small, community-based outreach is a good tactic for tackling credit union awareness. Creating “credit union ambassadors” to reach out to the wider community should be utilized. 

Why Don't You Use a Credit Union

In the above graph, 2015 shows a shift that the respondents are more familiar with credit unions. The response of NOT familiar with credit unions has decreased by 6% meaning consumers are more familiar with credit unions in 2015 than 2011. Overcoming the stigma of the convenience of branches and hours of operation has decreased by 9% in 2015 versus 2011. ATMs have also decreased by 4% in 2015 versus 2011. 

After learning more about credit unions, how interested are you in joining? 

Once consumers are educated about credit unions, interest peaked. There was a huge change in interest from 2015 to 2011. Consumers “very interested” in joining a credit union increased from 3% to 6%. That is a 100% increase. Consumers “somewhat interested” in joining a credit union increased from 28% to 33%. Consumers who remain “neutral” about joining a credit union increased from 11% to 34%. That is a 209% increase. Consumers “not very interested” and “not at all interested” decreased from 58% to 27%. These results reflect when consumers learn more about credit unions they are much more interested in a joining a credit union. This slide really depicts a large shift in behavior. 

How much do you know about credit unions?

Knowledge about credit unions has increased from 2011 when 85% of respondents knew “just some” to “nothing at all” about credit unions to 79% in 2015. Knowing “quite a bit” to a “great deal” has increased to 21% in 2015 versus 16% in 2011. 

Conclusion

General awareness of credit unions is improving as 62% of nonmember respondents knew “quite a bit/great deal” or “just some” about credit unions. MCUA should continue the consumer awareness campaign because we have successfully moved the needle, but further education is needed.

MCUA needs to encourage the continued education of existing credit union members because it is key to ensuring that members understand the full range of benefits that credit union membership offers them, and how they are different from a bank.

"MCUA should be proud of its quest to learn about the level of credit union knowledge of its residents," says MCUA President/CEO Don Cohenour. "In 2011, Missourians lacked knowledge of credit unions. Because of the innovative and creative design of the consumer awareness campaign and credit unions’ support of the campaign, there has been a huge shift in the knowledge of credit unions."