How Credit Union Membership Is Changing

Written by Devon Wilson

credit union membership


Credit unions have made massive pivots throughout the pandemic. And now, more than two years later, it’s time to take stock. Credit union membership is evolving, just as credit union services and online offerings are also expanding into new territories.

In 2021, credit unions added 4.7 million new members, which is a 23.6% increase when compared to the corresponding period in 2020, according to a CUNA Mutual Group study reported by American Banker.

But the growth is not universal across all credit unions. Those that have seen growth in their membership numbers year over year, even during the pandemic, have maintained that growth through innovation. Adapting to virtual solutions and online banking services has been a huge differentiator. Credit union membership is changing, and here’s how it will affect your branches and operations.

Mortgage Lending and Increased Hiring Offer Promising Results

The pandemic created supply chain issues all over the world. And we are seeing those issues play out in several industries, at different paces. For example, there was recently a shortage of computer chips reserved for use in vehicles, which then affected credit unions and other financial institutions.

Auto loans were on the decline as the high prices, small incentives, and sparse showrooms were affecting the desire and ability of consumers to car shop and apply for auto loans. The chip shortages are decreasing in severity, but they are expected to last into 2023 and beyond.

But there are other credit union-related areas that are experiencing rebound and growth. The housing market is a hot topic, and that means mortgage lending is helping drive credit union membership increases.

The other factor positively impacting credit union membership is the increase in hiring. Businesses are continuing to rebound after the last few years of hardship.

When the excitement around the housing market slows down, auto loans are expected o bounce back. That coupled with the expected 3.6 million new jobs being created in 2022 will mean your credit union’s value proposition will continue to increase in the coming months.

Data-Driven & Cybersecurity-Focused Approaches Resonate with New Audiences

Another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in cybersecurity breaches. And increasing your cybersecurity approaches to create robust programs has actually been shown to resonate heavily with potential members of all ages. According to Flex, 30% or more of people studied in an Adobe Analytics report, regardless of generation, ranked security as their number one banking concern.

There are also big benefits in revamping how you store and use member data. Your credit union has a huge collection of member insights at your fingertips, but many technologies that store this data need to be updated or replaced in order to make the most of the information stored there.

And this use of targeted member data analytics also feeds into your credit union’s value proposition. Credit union membership thrives on personalization. There’s great power in tailoring your apps, customer service, and member access and transactions to fit everyone’s preferences or lifestyle.

Personalization is not so much a luxury for your credit union anymore – it’s a necessity that facilitates growth.

Increased Connectedness & Crypto Solutions are on the Horizon

The surge in the popularity of cryptocurrency also highlights opportunities for credit union membership growth.

Smaller institutions and credit unions will now have avenues built by NCUA regulations and guidance to help kickstart CU crypto services. Credit unions have an opportunity right now to build crypto programs before they become widespread amongst the small financial institutions.

Between COVID and a growing number of Gen Z members dominating the customer experience space, connectedness is also a priority. This means you need more than just online offerings; you need digital solutions that are available in your physical spaces.

Branch strategies had to be re-evaluated during COVID, and now it will be done again. This time, the goal will be to connect each member’s experience to create seamless solutions. By prioritizing connectedness, credit unions can also increase efficiency in workflows, both on the member side and the employee side.

Physical and digital touchpoints will continue to become more unified.

Credit Union Membership Growth is Rooted in Leveraging the Right Technology

Technology is the medium through which you can market to, communicate with, and ultimately, serve your current and future credit union members. And that’s what IMS Integration was built on.

We have everything from premier solutions for Keystone users (Infuzion, Web Loan Applications, Online Accounting Opening, and more) to professional services like custom web development and electronic forms.

Frequent regulation and compliance changes and the rapid-fire technology trends affecting how everyone does business, IMSI wants to help lighten your credit union’s load. Whether you need forms, notices, or letters, we have the expertise to be able to deliver. Or take advantage of our well-honed industry experience to create a member-forward website experience that both satisfies current members and also encourages member growth.

Check out our website for more information on these and other services, or contact us today if you have questions.


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