NAFCU Services Blog

May 10, 2023

Exploring how credit unions maintain their edge

By Jeff Taylor, Product Manager, Credit Protection, Securian Financial

Credit unions know the importance of financial well-being to their members. They’re always working to stay a step ahead of economic challenges and find ways to create a better member experience.

And now more than ever, credit union members are navigating uncertain times and looking to their credit union to help them withstand financial surprises, stay on track with financial goals, and have the freedom to make financial choices. 

This is why Securian Financial surveyed credit union members to gauge trends in financial concerns, determine what drives banking loyalty, and learn what credit unions can do to exceed expectations across the generations.

Here are key findings from the survey1: 

·       Rising costs and increased living expenses are top of mind for all members 

·       Credit unions stand out for building trusting, secure relationships 

·       Members typically initiate Interactions with credit union representatives and loan officers 

·       Members are familiar with lending protection products; however, less than half of respondents have purchased a product  

When it comes to providing financial support, many members feel their credit union not only meets but beats expectations. That said, surveyed members share credit unions can better support their financial well-being by taking a more proactive approach in the following ways:

·       Offer more education and resources covering a variety of financial topics

·       Increase direct, personalized outreach regarding financial health

·       Ramp up credit digital and mobile capabilities

·       Provide a more seamless digital experience by ramping up capabilities

Lending protection solutions2 are not new to credit unions, but the need they fill for members may not always be top of mind. When offered in connection with consumer lending solutions, protection programs provide a financial safety net to members when they need it most. And they can reduce loan defaults and delinquencies while maximizing non-interest income for credit unions.

A majority of surveyed members mention learning of the solutions from their credit union in this way:

·       A representative-initiated conversation during a meeting

·       As part of their membership enrollment

·       During a loan application or refinancing conversation

While most surveyed members share they are familiar with lending protection solutions, only about half, have purchased the products:

·       41% have purchased lending protection (debt protection or credit insurance)

·       34% have purchased GAP (guaranteed auto protection)

·       45% have purchased auto warranty or mechanical breakdown protection

What does this mean for credit unions?

Using this survey data1, credit unions can continue to have staying power in today’s crowded marketplace due in part to their commitment to providing a consistent and personal approach to banking in this ever-changing environment.

To remain relevant, credit unions should take a more proactive approach to improving the member experience and help them feel more financially supported by:

  • Providing or expanding education classes and online tools to connect the dots between the value of solutions and unique member circumstances
  • Encouraging credit union representatives to personalize outreach to members to educate them on solutions available to support financial well-being
  • Reminding credit union representatives to introduce the availability and value of lending protection solutions during member registration and during the loan application process


1.      Securian Financial Credit Union Customer Survey. In June of 2022, we studied over 200 credit union members across the country in 11 geographic areas. Because each generation has unique mindsets and expectations, we wanted to explore the role of credit unions across generations, gauge current financial concerns, assess what drives banking loyalty, and what credit unions need to do to exceed member expectations. Participants were compensated for participation.
2.      Insurance products are issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company or Securian Life Insurance Company, a New York authorized insurer. Minnesota Life is not an authorized New York insurer and does not do insurance business in New York. Both companies are headquartered in St. Paul, MN. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by Securian Casualty Company, a New York authorized insurer. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies or contracts it issues. Product availability and features may vary by state.

About the Author

Jeff Taylor

Jeff leads the credit protection product line for Securian Financial’s Affinity Solutions business group. Jeff has over 20 years of insurance industry and financial services experience.

Learn more about Securian Financial Group.

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