WASHINGTON (2/22/12)--Credit unions continue to outshine banks in the eyes of consumers when it comes to everyday financial services and important values such as safety and soundness, according to a new Credit Union National Association (CUNA) survey.
A CUNA survey taken early this month found that 43% of respondents felt credit unions were the best place for consumers to keep their day to day savings and checking accounts, tying the number of respondents that preferred banks. This represents the first time credit unions have pulled even with banks on this question. Ten percent of respondents said they would use both institutions.
For years banks held the advantage. In 2004, 59% of the consumers surveyed said they preferred to use banks for their everyday transactions, compared to 30% for credit unions. Sixty-one percent of respondents to a similar 2008 survey said they preferred banks, compared to 40% that preferred credit unions.
The improvement shown in the 2012 survey results is a reflection of the consumer awareness gains credit unions have made in recent years, CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said.
This year's survey also found that credit unions continued to represent safety and soundness to consumers, with 40% of respondents saying credit unions were a safer place to keep their money. Thirty four percent said they preferred banks, and 19% said they felt that both types of institutions were safe places to store their funds.
Credit unions have eclipsed banks in this safety and soundness category since 2009, and this Improvement seems to be a result of the financial crisis, as a 2008 CUNA survey showed that 72% of respondents felt secure with their funds in a bank. Forty-five percent said they felt credit unions were safer at that time.
Bank favorability fell to 75% in the recent survey, while 80% of respondents said they viewed their credit unions favorably.
"From a consumer perspective, credit unions are trending in the right direction," Gose added. The survey drew responses from 1000 randomly selected registered voters in locations throughout the country.
Look for more coverage of CUNA's National Voter Survey results in future editions of NewsNow.