Credit unions are at an odd crossroads with locations. On the one hand, changing branch economics make it difficult to justify adding – or even maintaining – an extensive number of locations. On the other hand, members want convenient access, even when they move or are not close to home. These opposing trends raise a curious dilemma: Do more locations make happier members?
CO-OP research suggests that they do – and reveals an alternative approach to achieving locational happiness. CO-OP and Raddon Financial Group surveyed 20,000 members at 25 credit unions in Fall 2013 to find out how CO-OP ATMs and Shared Branches help credit unions strengthen their member relationships. What did we learn?
CO-OP ATM and Shared Branching users are engaged members. In national Raddon surveys, three of the four top influencers in choosing a PFI (Primary Financial Institution) were location-based: convenient branch locations, access to many ATMs with no surcharge fees, and convenient ATM locations.
Users of CO-OP ATMs and Shared Branching tend to live farther from the nearest branch: That’s why they’re using these locations. Yet, 81 percent of frequent CO-OP ATM users and 71 percent of frequent CO-OP Shared Branching users considered their credit union to be their primary financial institution. Only about half of non-users called their credit union their PFI.
Having more options helps you serve younger members, increase product usage, build loyalty and create fans:
- Millennials connect with Shared Branching and ATMs. Though Millennials comprised only 20 percent of the survey sample, they represented 26 percent of members who used both CO-OP Shared Branching and ATMs.
- ATM and Shared Branching users do more business with their credit unions – translating into more deposits and more loans, even when members are geographically distant.
- Providing access through CO-OP ATMs and Shared Branching builds loyalty. And the more members use these channels, the more loyal they say they are.
- CO-OP ATM and Shared Branching users rank their credit unions high, indicating a greater likelihood of bringing future business to their credit unions and recommending their credit unions to friends and family.
Not only does it appear that members are happier when they have access to more locations, but CO-OP Shared Branching and ATM access seem to fit the bill. Through CO-OP, members enjoy greater access:
- 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide – more ATMs than any bank network.
- More than 5,000 Shared Branching locations – the fourth largest branch network in the U.S.
- 2,200 Vcom self-service Shared Branching kiosks, many of which are conveniently located within 7-Eleven stores.
Meanwhile, credit unions don’t have to struggle with having to provide more locations in an environment that offers less economic return per location. CO-OP ATM and Shared Branching make massive access achievable. And that makes your members happier, all the way around.