Credit Unions Lead Banks on Innovation: Study Shows

Filene publishes survey showing the average credit union on top of almost all bank brands.

A study commissioned by Filene Research Institute found credit unions scored ahead of most banks on innovation this year.

The 2023 study found credit unions scored 69 on a scale of 1 to 100 on innovation, just below the average of 70 for all 200 brands in the study. However, credit unions scored above most banks in the study despite credit unions being “stigmatized with the perception of falling behind on innovation.”

This study is the second of the Credit Union Innovation Success Study conducted in partnership with the American Innovation Index, which measures innovation in the overall U.S. economy by quantifying the experiences of customers from more than 200 brands.

The Credit Union Innovation Success Study measures the state of innovativeness in the credit union sector based on member experience, and identifies opportunities to differentiate themselves from banks and fintechs.

The second-highest score in the banking sector was 78 for the nation’s largest credit union: Navy Federal Credit Union of Vienna, Va. ($168.4 billion in assets, 13.2 million members). Navy Federal was treated separately in the study, so its results were excluded from the credit union average.

The study indicated that Navy Federal’s size allows it “to invest in systems and strategies to keep it at the forefront of the financial services sector. It may also benefit from broader name recognition compared to credit unions with a more local presence.”

Fintech brands were among the highest scorers: Chime (79), CashApp/Square (74), SoFi (73) and PayPal/Venmo (72).

The study was conducted by Lerzan Aksoy, a marketing professor at Fordham University in New York, and Gina Woodall, president of Rockbridge Associates, a marketing research firm in Great Falls, Va.

In the forward, Aksoy wrote that their research showed a surge in innovation among financial service providers during the pandemic.

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Courtesy of Jim DuPlessis, Credit Union Times