2021 Member Insights Survey


Growing Loans Remains Top-Rated Objective in Second Half of 2021

In late July, Catalyst Corporate distributed the Member Insights Survey (MIS) to 6,503 member credit union C-suite executives and operations contacts. The purpose of the survey was to determine recipients' key strategic initiatives and objectives, top challenges, aspects of Catalyst Corporate that bring them the greatest value and how Catalyst Corporate can help meet their needs. Over the three-week survey period, responses were received from 474 individuals, representing 357 credit unions.

When asked “What are your credit union’s key strategic objectives over the next 6-18 months,“ 448 respondents rated options in the following order:

  1. Grow loans
  2. Manage liquidity
  3. Increase fee income
  4. Deploy self-service technologies
  5. Other initiatives/objectives
  6. Enhance checking program

For the second year in a row, "Grow loans" garnered the highest number of responses, with "Manage liquidity" and "Grow fee income" swapping places for the second- and third-highest ranked objectives from 2020 to the current year. 

“Similarity in responses from 2020 to 2021 is reasonable, considering the operating environment credit unions have been facing,” said Mark DeBree, Managing Principal of Catalyst Strategic Solutions. "Operating conditions for many credit unions nationwide simply haven't turned enough to justify a large change in strategy.” 

"The continued focus on loan growth is appropriate and important for credit unions," DeBree said. "Loans offer the best earnings potential on balance sheets, and making loans is the primary means of stabilizing and strengthening capital contributions over time."

Participants were asked a second question: “From your perspective, what are your credit union’s top challenges,” to which 474 credit unions responded in the following order: MIS_2

  1. Managing deposit growth
  2. Generating fee income
  3. Deploying excess liquidity
  4. Offering self-service technology to members
  5. Efficiency of payments and operations
  6. Concerns about capital level
  7. Other challenges
  8. Consolidating services/vendor providers

The top three concerns in 2021 mirrored those of 2020, with "Managing deposit growth" and "Generating fee income" sharing the top slot. "Deploying excess liquidity" ranked next. "Offering self-service technology to members," along with "Efficiency of payments and operations," rose in importance for 2021, while concerns about capital level decreased.

It's not surprising that credit unions have set new priorities for self-service technology and payment system efficiency, said Karen Coble, Catalyst Corporate’s Vice President of Sales. “During a time when some members remain hesitant about personal interaction, credit unions are looking to find ways to support them digitally. This strategic objective will likely extend well beyond COVID-19. Members are continuously demanding easier, faster access to their finances.“

Another section of the survey gave credit unions the opportunity to evaluate their partnership with Catalyst Corporate and the assistance they provide credit unions in achieving objectives and dealing with challenges. A total of 433 responses were received in this area, with "Provides responsive and quality service" topping the list. Respondents rated aspects of Catalyst Corporate that bring them greatest value in the following order: MIS_3

  1. Provides responsive and quality service
  2. Provides expertise supporting the services offered by my credit union
  3. Keeps my credit union up-to date on economic challenges and trends
  4. Keeps my credit union informed on payment/technology trends
  5. Provides financial management advice
  6. Other value

Catalyst Corporate strives to offer a portfolio of products and services for capitalized member credit unions, as well as as non-member credit unions. The organization also supports credit unions using those services beyond the sale with its experienced team of experts.

For additional credit union insights, see results of Catalyst Corporate’s 2021 Net Promoter Score survey.