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Who Uses Credit Union? Second Edition

This is the second edition of an earlier Filene report on credit union member demographics.  

  • Jinkook Lee PhD, Professor of Consumer Science and Research Associate at the Center for Human Resources Research at Ohio State University
  • William Kelly Center for Credit Union Research at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Executive Summary

In the second edition of Who Uses Credit Unions, researchers reconfirms and updates research findings that run counter to two general perceptions about credit unions, and statements often made about credit unions: 1) that credit union members are more affluent than bank customers; and 2) that people are exclusively members or non-members of credit unions. This report examines much more than wealth and income, however. We also provide data on the age, education, occupation, race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, and geographic characteristics of heavy, light, and non-users of U.S. credit unions.These demographic factors are strongly linked to institutional choice. Our results are based on analysis of an extensive in-home survey of approximately 4,300 households, sponsored by theFederal Reserve Board.

What is the research about?

In this study,  the researchers evaluate the affiliation of financial consumers in away that defines the nature of affiliation more precisely. They use five categories of affiliation: bank only, predominantly bank, credit union only, predominantly credit union and unbanked. Using this method of categorizing financial consumers, they investigated household financial affiliation across different demographic characteristics. They also identified the factors that influence a household’s financial affiliation

What are the credit union implications?

The five-category approach presented in this report has advantages over a two-category approach of "members" and "non-members" for developing credit union marketing and educational programs, and for evaluating public policy issues that affect credit unions.