Credit Union Brand Metrics Part I: A New formula for PFI

Samantha Strickland

Nearly every creative consultant, marketing executive, and industry journalist has an opinion about your credit union’s brand. They may even go so far as to say your brand is “good.” But “good is the enemy of great,” right? And most advice you’re going to get is based on opinion, not facts. In this 4-part series, we will approach the question about the strength of your brand more pragmatically and review some key data points that you can easily access, track, and measure to determine how well your brand resonates.


A new formula for credit union PFI

What percentage of your members consider you their primary financial institution (PFI)?

To determine your definition of PFI, think about what product usage matters most to your credit union’s success: products that generate income or technology that reduces expenses and engages ongoing activity.

  • Loans: Generate interest income and offer opportunities for non-interest income with GAP, warranty and other upsell options
  • Checking: Ties members to the CU on a day-to-day basis, as well as produces interchange income (and potentially other fee income)
  • E-services: Indicates high propensity toward PFI because the member has incorporated your CU into their daily life (direct deposit, mobile banking, bill payment). 
  • Deposits: Large deposit accounts (other than checking) can be “hot money” that will leave your credit union the moment rates go up. Deposit-only members do not consider you their PFI.

To get started, determine a baseline of members who solidly consider you their PFI.

Here’s a formula:  Find the number of members who meet the following criteria: Checking account + Mobile enrollment + 10 debit/ACH transactions per month + 1 or more loans. Then divide that total number by your membership to get your PFI %.

This number may be very low right now, but it’s a baseline. TRACK IT over the next 6-12 months. Is the percentage going up or down? A down trend could be a warning sign and should set off alarm bells. A growing trend upwards means your members are very satisfied with your offerings. No matter what your score is currently, the good news is that the members in this category are likely to stick with you. Value this group and leverage their loyalty and insights.

In summary, before you make major decisions about rebranding or expanding to new markets, get a handle on your current loyalists. Figure out how to convert additional current members into that group and attract more from your market.

Read Part II

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