Survey: Online Consumers Would Move To CUs, If...

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More than three-quarters of members who use online services through their credit union said they also use similar services from other providers, according to a new study from Callahan & Associates.

But of that 79% of members, almost half (43%) of the survey respondents with accounts at other financial service providers reported they would be interested in transferring accounts to their credit union as long as the products were comparable. In addition, 39% of these members said they would be likely to use an online funds transfer if available, the survey found.

"A crucial factor seems to be that the switching process must be made extremely easy, such as providing online sign-up; otherwise, the changes appear to be less likely to occur," says Scott Patterson, Callahan's vice president for e-commerce. "The survey findings demonstrate a significant opportunity for credit unions to further increase their financial relationships with members by leveraging the convenience of the online channel. Providing online 'switch kits' and online ACH transfers (A2A) are two of the ways leading credit unions are lowering the perceived barriers associated with moving accounts."

The shared-cost survey, conducted as part of Callahan's Survey Consortium, is based on 15,750 responses obtained during February. included in the new survey titled Financial Service Usage of Online Services. Fifteen credit unions helped sponsor the survey, ranging in assets from the $2.56-billion Citizen's Equity First CU in Illinois to the $197-million Deere & Company Credit Union, also in Illinois.

Analysis of the survey showed that willingness to move accounts to the credit union varies depending on what type of accounts are held elsewhere, Callahan's found. For example, those with checking accounts, check cards and direct deposit were least likely to be willing to move while those with share certificates (45%) and credit cards (38%) said they were the most likely to make the change.

The survey also revealed a strong relationship between website satisfaction and the likelihood to stay with the credit union. Only about half say they are very satisfied with their credit union's website in terms of ease of use, transaction capability and completeness of information.

"This indicates considerable opportunity for credit unions to improve their websites," Patterson says. "We have found that greater website satisfaction has real benefits in terms of product penetration and not losing online users to other financial institutions."

According to Callahan's, the survey revealed that credit unions with higher satisfaction levels also have higher product penetration levels compared to credit unions with the lowest ratings. They also had fewer members using other institutions' online banking programs.

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