Credit Union Digital Readiness Study

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Updated on Monday, May 2, 2016

Credit unions provide vital financial services to millions of Americans. Because credit unions are owned by their members, they have the opportunity to offer lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on deposits.

However, in an increasingly digital world, price is not the only factor in a decision on where to bank or borrow. Consumers want digital access to their accounts. The fastest growing banks and credit unions offer their customers the ability to bank and borrow online and via mobile banking apps.

The purpose of this study is to use NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) data to answer a few questions:

  • Have credit unions adopted digital technologies?
  • Which credit unions are the most advanced?
  • In what areas do credit unions need to do a better job of servicing their customers?

Key Findings

The level of digital adoption varies widely between credit unions. But the study clearly shows that:

  • The largest credit unions (by assets) are far more digitally advanced than the smallest.
  • Credit unions that are digitally savvy grow their member base much more quickly than credit unions that are not digitally savvy

This study shows that the large credit unions are investing in digital technology, growing their user base and creating best-in-class experiences for their consumers. However, there is a real risk for the smallest credit unions. They will need to find cost-effective ways to embrace digital technology, or face risks.


National Credit Union Administration

The NCUA collects information from all credit unions. In addition to financial metrics, the NCUA also collects data from credit unions on digital capabilities. MagnifyMoney has used the data to score the digital adoption rates of credit unions nationally.

The data used in this analysis is from the latest 5300 call report containing data from December, 2015.

Digital Adoption Score Calculation

The table below shows the methods by which members may perform electronic financial services and the services the members may perform digitally.

The digital adoption score is calculated by assigning equal weights to all the services above and examining how many of the services are offered by each credit union.

For example, “Golden 1 Credit Union” offers 20 of the above 24 electronic services, thus it will have a digital adoption score of 83. This score does not judge which digital capabilities are more important than others.

Below you can see the digital adoption score by the size of the credit union. As the data clearly demonstrates, the largest credit unions (with more than $2 billion of assets) are the most digitally advanced, with score of 83. And the smallest credit unions (with assets of less than $250 million) are the least digitally advanced.

The Most Digitally Savvy Credit Unions

Top 5 Credit Unions

Top 3 Credit Unions In Each Asset Class

Membership & Asset Growth

Overall Membership Growth

In an increasingly digital world, consumers are demanding digital access to their accounts. It is not surprising that credit unions with the highest digital adoption scores are actually growing their member base the fastest. Over the last six months, credit unions with a Digital Adoption Score (DAS) of more than 75 grew their membership base by 2.63%. The least digitally advanced credit unions, with score below 25, actually saw a reduction in their membership base. This sends a clear warning to credit unions: if you want to grow and prosper, you will need to invest in digital capabilities.

Overall Asset Growth

Asset growth follows the same trend as membership growth. Credit unions with the highest Digital Adoption Score (“DAS”) experienced the most rapid asset growth. The most digitally advanced credit unions had asset growth of 3.85%, compared to asset reduction for the least digitally advanced credit unions.