Credit unions beating banks

By David McMillin,

The roar of frustration with banks may seem like it’s quieting, but a new survey suggests consumers are continuing to question their allegiances to their banking institutions. More of those consumers are turning to credit unions for their personal finance needs.

According to the 2013-2014 National Member and Nonmember Survey from the Credit Union National Association, 57 percent of credit union members indicate they are extremely likely to recommend their credit union to friends. In contrast, just 40 percent of members who also use banks say they’re equally as likely to recommend that institution to friends.

The past four years have not been kind to the banking industry. When the same survey was conducted in 2009, 56 percent of respondents indicated that a bank was their primary financial institution. In this year’s research, that number dwindled to just 38 percent.

“The financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 caused many consumers to question their loyalty to banks, which many consumers blamed for triggering the economic collapse,” Jon Haller, director of corporate and market research for CUNA, said in a statement.

The numbers are indeed positive for credit unions, but the banking industry still seems to be doing just fine. The most recent quarterly report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shows that profits at banks continue to increase. In fact, the entire banking industry has reported year-over-year earnings growth for the past 15 consecutive quarters.

Despite any negative public feelings surrounding banks and their role in the country’s economic challenges, consumers continue to enjoy the convenience of big-branch networks and new online and mobile banking tools. Ultimately, I think those conveniences coupled with big advertising budgets will keep consumers returning to banks.

What do you think? Are you still loyal to your bank, or have the past few years forced you to re-evaluate where you’re keeping your money?

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