MADISON, Wis. (8/27/08)--"Who's joining credit unions?" is the key question addressed in new research from the Filene Research Institute that delves into how new members are different from legacy members. For years, credit unions knew the needs of their members because the members shared a common experience based on employment, affinity groups and close-knit communities, says the study's author, George A. Hofheimer, chief research officer at Filene. "A shift to community credit unions allows more consumers to enjoy the benefits of credit union membership, but it also leaves credit unions with a complexity of a much more heterogenous membership," he said in the report, "Who's Joining Credit Unions?" The study examines data from more than 90 credit unions and divides members according to their length of membership at the credit union. New members, for example, are those who have been with the credit union two years or less. The study also asks:
* Do new members look different than legacy members? * Do they use different products? * Do they behave differently? * Do they want different things?
New credit union members, says the report, tend to be:
* Younger; * Lower-income; * Driven to credit unions by recommendations from friends and family; * Influenced heavily by the perception of convenience, but they are not necessarily heavy users of convenience access points such as branches and ATM networks; * Low-deposit and low-loan volume consumers; and * Less aware of complex product offerings and delivery channels.
The research report will be available via Filene's website soon.