Are Your Members Merely Satisfied or Truly Loyal?

The member loyalty payoff can be a big boost for CUs.

July 18, 2011
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Bank customers aren’t unhappy, but they’d switch institutions with the right incentive, according to a Harris Interactive survey released December 2010. Among surveyed consumers, 41% say their bank offers adequate service for their financial needs.

 But among those satisfied customers, about 20% say they’d switch banks with the right incentive. And 5% already are dissatisfied enough to be looking or willing to look for a new financial institution. 

FrontLine Newsletter

This finding shows that satisfaction and loyalty are distinct concepts, notes CUNA’s 2011-2012 Survey of Potential Members. Satisfied customers, or members, don’t necessarily make loyal ones who continue to bring more business.

These survey findings have implications for credit union membership growth efforts. And knowing the data can be helpful as you cross-sell services to members and potential members.

The survey also indicates the customer loyalty payoff for banks is minor, based on certain comparisons between “truly loyal” customers, or promoters, and other customers. But it can be a big boost for credit unions.

For banks, comparing the two groups of their customers who are not credit union members shows that among truly loyal nonmembers:

  • 93% have checking accounts at their banks, but 94% of other nonmember customers also have them.
  • 37% have bank loans, while 45% of other nonmember customers have bank loans.
  • The average loan balance is $13,540, outstripped by an average loan balance of $16,269 for other nonmembers.
  • The average number of balance-carrying products and services with the bank is 2.5—barely more than other nonmembers’ average of 2.4 products and services.

Survey of Potential MembersThese figures raise doubts about whether banks benefit much from their truly loyal promoters.

Credit unions, on the other hand, fare much better in reaping rewards from their truly loyal members compared with other members, according to the survey.

Among truly loyal members:

  • 75% have credit union checking accounts, compared with 58% among other members.
  • 42% have credit union loans, compared with 30% among other members.
  • The average loan balance is $7,111, compared with $5,099 for other members.
  • The average number of balance-carrying credit union products and services is 2.7, compared with 2.3 for other members.

Loyalty matters at credit unions. As you work with members to meet their financial needs, remember that their relationships with you can make a big difference in their loyalty, and your credit union’s bottom line.

This article first appeared in Front Line Newsletter.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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