Bank Transfer Day an Opportunity for All Credit Unions

Anticipation surrounding Bank Transfer Day has been growing in the credit union community since the beginning of October. In the days following Bank of America’s fee announcement, credit unions—especially the ones with significant visibility—began seeing substantial increases in new membership.

Early estimates indicated that credit unions experiencing the membership growth were doing so at a rate between 15 and 25 percent higher than usual. Those estimates were wrong.

Based on the responses of a nationwide survey of 5,000 credit unions, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that at least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions since Sept. 29—the day Bank of America unveiled its now-rescinded $5 monthly debit card fee. Also during that time, CUNA estimates that credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts, likely from the new members and existing members shifting their funds.

In Washington, BECU reported Tuesday that in the month of October alone more than 16,000 new members were added to their rolls. That is a 200-percent increase over new memberships in October 2010.

This member movement is real; it is big, and it represents an opportunity for all credit unions, regardless of asset size, to increase their memberships. It also represents an opportunity for credit unions to upgrade their status in the minds of current members from being a secondary financial institution to their primary financial institution.

For those credit unions that do not enjoy high visibility or do not have the end-of-the-year marketing budget to react more publicly to Bank Transfer Day, there are still plenty of ways to take advantage of this rare opportunity.

  1. Cross market your organizational sophistication—as well as the credit union advantage—to existing members as you tell them about your products and services. A switch kit is a tremendous help with this. If you don’t already have one, get one now.
  2. Offer current members special rates for converting their credit union into their primary financial institution.
  3. Offer a free financial services consultation to anyone who wants to learn how your credit union can serve their needs.
  4. Increase your weekday hours or open for special Saturday hours to add convenience.
  5. Consider holding another membership appreciation event. Remember to invite members and be ready to discuss all the good things that have been accomplished with the help of your credit union.
  6. Attend Bank Transfer Day events in your community and discuss the credit union difference with people.
  7. Reach out to media. Tell them about new hours, special rates for members, and membership appreciation events. If you are not comfortable working with media, that’s okay. Contact the Northwest Credit Union Association for assistance.


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: 

Posted in Events, NCUA.