WASHINGTON (3/4/08)—There are significant opportunities to attract new members within current fields of membership according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) research, which finds that for many credit unions, reaching out will be increasingly important. In a presentation at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference here, Dick Ensweiler identified three key new markets for credit union membership growth: Youth, immigrant and ethnic groups, and underserved segments of a community. Ensweiler is chairman of CUNA’s Membership Growth Task Force, as well as head of the Texas CU League. The task force was formed in 2007 to “investigate, report on, and encourage credit unions to embrace opportunities, techniques and processes” that will increase membership retention and growth, Ensweiler noted in his address. The task force, he said, encourages credit unions to:
* Develop more community partnerships; * Continue to push to change laws and regulations in ways that would bolster service to the target markets; and * Increase participation in the REAL Solutions program to offer new products and services to attract more members from low-wealth and modest means households.
Ensweiler advised that with any program meant to reach the target groups for membership the message focus should be one that reflects credit unions “trust, respect, care” of and for members. He also prodded those interested in growth to explore new media options, such as YouTube, Google, MySpace, as well as blogs and more.