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Who Uses Credit Unions? Fourth Edition

Who Uses Credit Unions, Fourth Edition provides updated data demographics of heavy, light and non-users of U.S. credit unions and analyzes this data over the last decade.

  • Jinkook Lee PhD, Professor of Consumer Science and Research Associate at the Center for Human Resources Research at Ohio State University

Executive Summary

Back in the dark ages of credit union research, there were two kinds of households: members and non-members. We knew a thing or two about the characteristics of those two groups, but our understanding of the nuances of their relationships with financial institutions was quite limited. The situation is different today. We now understand that the reasons people choose and use financial institutions are complex, and that if we are to grasp those complexities, we must be more sophisticated in our analysis of the data available on where people keep their savings and why. Moreover, since this is the fourth edition of this report—following editions based on data from 1995, 1998, and 2001—we are now able to analyze these data over a period of more than a decade, allowing us to interpret trends pertaining to who is keeping their money where.

What is this research about?

This report, the fourth edition of Who Uses Credit Unions?, has two purposes. The first aim is to provide an updated demographic snapshot of credit union membership. This snapshot is based on the Federal Reserve Board’s 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The second aim is to examine membership trends over the past decade in order to detect changes in who uses credit unions.

What are the credit union implications? 

This report helps credit unions to understand that the reasons people choose and use financial institutions are varied and complex. Understanding patterns and trends in the use of financial institutions is essential from both the business and public policy perspectives. As credit union’s toolbox of insights continues to grow, so will the industry’s ability to develop products that effectively meet the needs of potential members.