Should We Be Concerned About Membership Growth?

The flexibility to add to fields of membership comes at an opportune time for credit unions – provided court opinions continue to fall in favor of the industry, and credit union’s change their perspective on marketing and business development investment.

Membership Growth Rate Slowing?

Glatt Consulting’s HealthScore includes membership growth as a component of the overall HealthScore calculation, and the industry has seen notable year-over-year membership growth score declines in each of the first two quarters of 2019. Q2 saw a score decline of 7.36% on the heels of a 3.2% decline in Q1. Prior to 2019, credit unions showed a decline only once in 18 quarters.

What is the cause?

We think there are two. First, slower growth in indirect auto loans (both total dollar volume and total indirect loans). Indirect is a channel that fuels membership growth for many credit unions, so the drop in indirect has a definite impact on membership growth.

Second, credit unions are coming up against limits to field of membership – in two different ways. First, credit unions do turn away those that are not qualified to join. Second, and relatedly, credit unions have come close to exhausting the “low hanging fruit” of membership growth – namely those that are already familiar with credit unions and/or that already belong to one or more. Attracting the “unfamiliar” is slow going.

The Challenge, and Competition Ahead

Credit unions, already experiencing slight declines in operating expense scores, may need to pump up spending even more to garner the attention of the next generation of credit union members – those that can belong as result of expanded memberships but that have no idea what a credit union is. These folks will be hard to reach using more traditional approaches – especially if indirect is a channel of concern (meaning credit unions continue to experience slower indirect channel growth).

Consider that SoFi, a non-credit union entity that nonetheless touts their service to “members,” outspends the average credit union to acquire/serve members by about $400/member. And they don’t spend in the same areas as credit unions.

To compete, credit unions will need to spend more, and spend better.

See: SoFi Is Paying Top Dollar To Acquire Its Prime Customers

The Lost Art of the Sales-Driven Thank You

Thank You

I needed a couple of suits for travel/road trips. Inexpensive yet durable, that could handle dirty airplanes but, if damaged, would be “easy” to replace. I bought two suits from a factory outlet store. In the grand scheme of suit purchases, this was an inexpensive buy. I wasn’t breaking the bank on bespoke suits from Savile Row.  Continue reading “The Lost Art of the Sales-Driven Thank You”

Tom Glatt Jr’s Latest Contribution to The Financial Brand Now Online

The Financial Brand

Tom Glatt, Jr’s latest contribution to The Financial Brand has been published. The article, entitled “Keep Cocktail Talk Out of Your Social Media Content,” offers a stark exploration of common bank/credit union social media errors and the strategy to help avoid them.
Continue reading “Tom Glatt Jr’s Latest Contribution to The Financial Brand Now Online”

Is Credit Union Marketing Back?

Total Marketing Spending

Originally published April 22, 2013 on

As a strategy consulting resource for credit unions, I am often asked by clients about the strategies of other credit unions in areas such as lending, branching, and technology. I’m also asked about marketing – and frequently whether other credit unions have decided to recover the marketing dollars “lost” due to recession-era budget cuts. Some certainly wonder, or perhaps assume, that all credit unions have maintained reduced spending in marketing. Though the recession and its impact is becoming more memory than present reality, the question remains: Is marketing back, or is it still suffering deep recession-era cuts? Continue reading “Is Credit Union Marketing Back?”