CALABASAS, Calif. (10/7/09)--Consumers and small business owners are seeing a light at the end of the economic tunnel and that light could be their credit union's online finance management tools. A year after the banking crisis began, 52% of consumers surveyed said their financial prospects will improve during the next 12 months. And 61% of small business owners said they were also optimistic about their business's growth. They will be turning to credit unions and other financial institutions to help them make the most of their opportunities. Nearly 70% of respondents expressed confidence in the stability of their credit union or bank. Consumers and businesses surveyed also said they wanted more online tools from their financial institutions. The survey findings were presented by Digital Insight, the financial institutions division of Intuit Inc., last week. Digital Insight is a provider of online financial management tools to credit unions and banks. Its research was conducted by Decipher research in July and August by polling 1,000 adults and 5j00 small business owners across the U.S. Other findings:
* Roughly 80% of consumers pay bills and transfer funds online but 62% would like a single place to manage their complete financial picture, no matter where the information originates. * Nearly half would like online help with tracking expenses and budgeting. * About 80% of consumers and small businesses named their credit union or bank as their most trusted online destination to manage their finances--up from 68% last year. * Seventeen percent of small business owners have increased their use of online financial management tools in the past year. * The top five tasks that small business owners would like to manage online are: processing credit card and automated clearinghouse payments; invoicing; making remote deposits; planning and filing taxes; and learning about new products and services.
"Consumers and small business owners clearly are looking for help as they manage through the strained economy," said Sasan Goodarzi, president of Digital Insight. "Financial institutions have an unprecedented opportunity to seize this moment and provide the tools and services that their customers and members want and need. By offering the right tools at the right time, they can build lifelong relationships that will help grow their business." Credit unions are lending to small businesses owners who are struggling to find loans in a tight credit market. The Credit Union National Association says that increasing the lending limit for these loans to 25% from the current 12.25% would go a long way in helping small businesses. Increasing the limit would free up an extra $10 billion in capital for small businesses and commercial loans.