Banks Are Starting To Seriously Lose Out To Credit Unions

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Credit unions aren’t just keeping up with banks. They seem to be outpacing them.In the 2011 California Bank & Credit Union Survey conducted by Prime Performance, the Sacramento-based credit union Golden 1 topped the charts in each of the four surveyed areas for a total overall customer experience score of 79 per cent.

Here’s a look at the four major subjects in the survey, which were then tallied into a Prime Experience Index.

  • Satisfaction with service.
  • Likely to recommend.
  • Likely to come to the financial institution first for additional products or services.
  • Effective at meeting financial needs.

While Golden 1 certainly distinguished itself as the leader of the pack, other credit unions in the state weren’t far behind. Here’s a note from Jim Miller, Prime Performance president:

If we had ranked the “Other Credit Unions” category, it would have tied Golden 1 for first place. While Bank of the West and Union Bank have strong customer experience scores, overall, banks have work to do to catch up with their credit union competitors.

Responses certainly echo Miller’s comments. Citibank, Chase and Bank of America trailed Golden 1’s top score by more than 30 percentage points.

Now, I don’t think too many readers will be shocked that credit union members are more satisfied with service or willing to recommend their institutions to others. Those seem to be two of the characteristics that have begun to separate the for-profit versus not-for-profit sides of personal finance. However, I do think it’s important to recognise how well credit unions are doing in the other two areas.

For many account holders who remain on the big bank bandwagon, I think quite a few of them worry credit unions cannot provide convenient products, tools and account features. It’s the old “bigger is better” mentality, and no matter how much steam a bank transfer movement can gain, it can be hard to overcome.

This survey seems to show that tide may finally be turning. Credit unions are no longer perceived as institutions that can only deliver good people-to-people service. They can also deliver competitive tools such as a shared branch network, the ATM Co-op, mobile banking and more.

What do you think? If you’re a credit union member, did you have to overcome any initial negative perceptions to give your credit union a chance?

Related posts:

  • Credit unions and small banks tops in service
  • When credit unions become banks
  • Credit unions play up free checking

This post originally appeared at Bankrate.com.

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