Each year, the Financial Brand produces a comprehensive report on the landscape of banks and credit unions across the globe with the assistance of Aite’s Senior Analyst Ron Shevlin. As a market research firm that specializes on insights for the financial sector, our Analytics team always looks forward to the yearly release date for the new report. The comprehensive study helps our team provide better recommendations for our clients, benchmark their activity to other institutions, and helps us provide them with reference data for their marketing efforts.

Click here if you would like to read the full 2014 State of Bank and Credit Union Marketing report.

State of Bank and Credit Union Marketing Report

After reading the full report, I wanted to take some time to share my insights for our current banking and credit union clients. Here are my key takeaways from the annual report:

  • Insufficient budgets and manpower is the #1 challenge for financial institutions. Survey respondents reported this as their main concern for 2014, coupling nicely with #2 which is having too many initiatives. Using a consultant like RMS can free up time for your staff by outsourcing key research activities. Customer surveys can also be designed to help prioritize initiatives for customers.
  • The importance of mobile banking continues to grow. Nearly 70% of respondents rated mobile banking solutions as the most critical product or service to promote in 2014.
  • Why aren’t more banks and credit unions using NPS? Likelihood to recommend and NPS are such a key driver to loyalty and likelihood to switch primary financial institutions (PFIs), so I am shocked to see that 55% of banks and credit unions do not measure NPS. You can obtain NPS through a simple image and awareness survey to your markets.What is NPS and why is it important? Click the previous link to find out.
  • Online account openings not offered by the majority. We’ve seen through past research how important internet/online and mobile banking is when choosing a PFI, especially among those aged 35 or younger. Still only 41% offer online account openings and another 24% haven’t yet but plan to do so. Social media, email marketing, and online ads dominate the tools used by marketers but it doesn’t appear operations are following suit to electronic platforms. So banks are using online strategies to recruit new customers, but fail to fulfill those same user’s needs once they grab their attention. That’s a major concern.
  • Emergence of switch kits (finally). One theme that is reoccurring in our market research is respondents reporting is the high barriers to switching financial institutions, especially PFIs. With the adoption of e-deposits, direct deposits, automatic bill pay, and more, customers fear of switching all of that information to another institution is at an all time high. Switch kits are packets that help banks and credit unions collect data from customers’ deposits and withdrawals to one form so the bank can seamlessly make the switch for you. Team this with a switch liaison staff member and financial institutions are finally starting to break down this barrier and create a full-on shopper’s marketplace.
  • Poor response rate. Okay, maybe this one hits home as a market researcher and doesn’t necessarily relate directly to banks and credit unions, but the Financial Brand states it has over 1,000,000 readers and only 300 participated in the survey representing a response rate of .03%. I hope there isn’t any non-responder bias.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm for banks and credit unions. We specialize in a number of market research studies for financial institutions including image and awareness surveys, customer satisfaction and loyalty studies, new account surveys, closed account surveys, branch feasibility studies, and employee surveys. If you are a bank or credit union looking to conduct market research contact our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.