Credit Unions Continue To Top Consumer Loyalty Surveys

Credit Unions Continue to Top Consumer Loyalty Surveys


"The strongest drivers of loyalty among credit union members are quality service, convenience, advantageous interest rates on loans and other services, and confidence that their money is safe," says Stan Hollen, president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, a credit union-owned cooperative based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. "Underlying these drivers is the unique character of credit unions as not-for-profit, member-owned institutions that serve specific communities."

According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, for the fourth consecutive year customer loyalty and perceptions of brand image among retail banking customers has continued to decline, primarily due to low marks in customer service. In contrast, the annual American Banker/Gallup poll on customer satisfaction has ranked credit unions at the top of the list for more than two decades. And in January 2010, Forrester Research published the results of an independent research report that scored customer satisfaction based on consumer experiences in the areas of "meets needs, easy to work with and enjoyable." Credit unions grabbed the top spot.

The J.D. Power and Associates study, which polled 48,000 participants, cited poor customer service as the most common reason why customers say they switch their banks. High fees were quoted by 29 percent of customers who switched banks in 2010.

As indicated by Hollen, the strong showing credit unions continue to make in consumer loyalty surveys is tied to their one-of-kind standing among financial institutions:

  • Membership is limited by charter to specific communities, enabling credit unions to know the financial needs of its community (specific professions, geographic regions, etc.) very well. As smaller institutions, they are also better able to know their individual members personally. At the same, virtually anyone can join at least one credit union.
  • As owners of their institution, credit union members can run for the Board of Directors and get one voting share each on governance issues. These rules help make sure credit unions are looking out for the financial interests of all members and not a small group of shareholders.
  • Credit unions are regulated by the government, either Federal or State, and accounts are also Federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).
  • Credit unions can make profits, however, the money belongs to the members, not stockholders or management. Most earnings are returned to the members in the form of lower loan rates, more loans granted, higher interest rates on deposits, fewer fees and better service.

"Credit unions have always outperformed banks in their own surveys of customer satisfaction among financial institutions," said Hollen. "There is no mystery as to why - the financial well being of their members is always the first priority of a credit union."

About CO-OP Financial Services

Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., CO-OP Financial Services is the industry leader in access and convenience products for credit unions. Nearing 30 years of credit union service, CO-OP connects credit union members to their accounts through network services, payment processing, e-commerce, CO-OP Shared Branching and call center services. With a total of 3,000 credit union members, 30 million cardholders, 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs, 4,000 shared branch locations and 160 million-plus monthly transactions, CO-OP Financial Services is the nation's largest credit union service organization, offering the tools, counsel and leadership to help credit unions prosper. To learn more, visit Follow CO-OP on Twitter at: and keep up with industry issues via the CO-OP Insight Vault blog at: