Riverdale Credit Union

Successful membership-growth strategies require a thorough knowledge of your credit union’s field of membership. And that requires research to answer questions, such as:

  • Who are your potential members, where do they live, and what services do they need?
  • What are your competitors doing and not doing?
  • How can your credit union’s values align with your community’s values?
  • Do you need to tweak your menu of products and services, based on the demographic profile of your community?

These three credit unions’ strategies sparked dramatic membership growth in recent years.

By attracting younger members, Capital Communications Federal Credit Union in Albany, N.Y., lowered the average age of its members to 38—well below the national average age of almost 49.

The $1.1 billion asset credit union’s College Bound program helped about 3, 000 families navigate the complex application, preparation, and funding process during the past two years.

The credit union also oversees financial education efforts in 73 area schools, gives student members $10 for every above-average report card, and this year distributed $57, 000 in scholarships.

Capital Communications Federal tripled its membership to 112, 000 during CEO Paula Stopera’s 10 years as CEO, and boasts a 2.9 products per household ratio, per Raddon. “We’ve grown significantly through our youth programs, ” she says.

When big banks bought out community-based competitors in Selma, Ala., then removed control of lending decisions and increased fees, word-of-mouth fueled a parade of prospective members to Riverdale Credit Union.

“We benefited in this market because we give personal service daily, ” CEO Linda Walker says.

The credit union doesn’t advertise for new members, but does sponsor a variety of events in the city and school system. Additionally, Riverdale’s financial literacy efforts help members break free of the cycle of payday loans, which are readily available at many stores in Selma.

Since 2009, membership has increased 63% to 9, 597, assets jumped 56% to $65 million, and loans accelerated 53% to $43 million.

For TopLine Federal Credit Union, Bank Transfer Day is the gift that keeps on giving.

The $353 million credit union in Maple Grove, Minn., capitalized on a membership spike from that 2011 initiative through word-of-mouth referrals.

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