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MAP study shows value of member issue education, advocacy
WASHINGTON (2/26/14)--Member service is the core of the credit union movement, and the Credit Union National Association's new Member Activation Program (MAP) study, released Tuesday, shows the value credit unions can derive from educating their members on key issues like the tax status and credit union difference.

The study was unveiled at CUNA's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference with a quick video in the morning and a lengthy breakout session later in the day.

The yearlong study of 70,000 members in two credit unions--CommunityAmerica CU in Kansas City and University FCU in Austin, Texas--tested both for the techniques most effective in activating members to take grassroots action on their behalf, and whether doing so would have had any negative consequences for the credit union's brand or member relationship.

The results showed that the goals of generating grassroots contacts go hand in hand with increasing member loyalty and growing wallet share for the credit union. "We found that four out of five credit union members indicated they were more likely to conduct more of their personal financial services with a credit union after receiving a 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' email communication," CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said.

The study also revealed:
  • Credit union members want to be known as members, not as customers;
  • The credit union "brand" has a 97% favorability rating amongst those surveyed;
  • Members respond best to messages that show the differences between credit unions and Wall Street banks;
  • Members who receive advocacy outreach from their credit unions have a stronger bond with those institutions; and
  • About 82% of members are ready to do more business with their credit union after exposure to advocacy messaging.
CUNA has used the results of the study to develop an advocacy and outreach toolkit for credit unions of all sizes, and an email template for credit unions to use in contacting and educating their members on the tax status issue. Additional training tools for credit union leaders who want to do even more with their members are also on the way.

At this stage, Gose said CUNA has a simple question to ask: Credit unions should commit to contacting their members on the tax status by Tuesday, March 11. This action will generate additional contacts to remind Congress of the need to protect the credit union tax status, and will kick off or continue an important advocacy conversation with members.

"This type of contact can only lead to increased membership loyalty for credit unions," Gose said.

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