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CUNA survey CUs gaining ground with voters
WASHINGTON (2/17/10)—Just 39% of voters who responded to a Credit Union National Association (CUNA)-sponsored survey indicated that they would favor banks over credit unions if a disagreement over financial legislation broke out in the U.S. Congress or their state legislature, CUNA reported on Tuesday. CUNA’s national voter survey, which was conducted between Jan. 24 and 28 and surveyed 1,000 registered voters across the nation, showed that half of the 1,000 voters who responded said that they would side with credit unions over banks in that potential legislative disagreement. Large numbers of respondents also favored credit unions on more specific issues, with a mere 27% of them agreeing with banking industry claims that removing restrictions on credit union business lending would give credit unions, which do not pay taxes, an unfair advantage. Those same respondents overwhelmingly supported giving credit unions the opportunity to assist the economy by helping to create jobs through greater business lending by credit unions, and 69% favorably viewed the MBL legislation that, if approved, would create 108,000 new jobs. The CUNA survey, which has been taken for 11 years, “has never shown an environment more complimentary to credit unions,” CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said. “Clearly, jobs and the economy are the issues voters are most concerned about,” Gose said, adding that while additional surveys clearly show that “voters support credit unions,” the CUNA survey “goes beyond that, showing voters support credit unions’ ability to help the economy and grow jobs.” While consumers trust in banks continues to slip, their favorable views of credit unions have not decreased during the past year, with 56% of respondents saying that they would classify credit unions as “safe and sound” financial institutions. The number of consumers who judged banks to be “safe and sound” fell to 50%, down from 55% in the 2009 edition of the survey. Credit unions have remained steady with 42% of registered voters identifying themselves as credit union members, and 22% saying that credit unions were their primary financial institution. However, there is room for growth. A large majority of voters had positive impressions of several credit union-specific business practices, including returning earnings to members, specifically working with underserved communities, and the collective, member-owned structure of credit unions, rated extremely favorably among survey respondents. Surveys by Forrester Research and the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School also noted high customer approval ratings, and Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index, which was also released on Tuesday, found that credit unions rated near the top of scale for their customer service. (See related story: CUs at top of customer satisfaction heap--new survey.)
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