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Get Real With Your Credit Union Marketing

Adam Tate - Your Marketing Co
Written By: Adam Tate

With an ever-changing industry, national banks and fintechs leading digital transformation, large credit unions merging in a seemingly endless supply of boutique credit unions, and financial uncertainty abound at every turn, you may wonder, what is the best way to weather the storm and even grow through this inflation and unrest? The truth is this is a fantastic time for boutique and mid-sized credit unions to thrive!

We see it every day and especially every quarter when we check Your Marketing Co.’s credit union performance statistics. How are the credit unions we have the honor of serving compared to their peers? CUNA’s monthly survey estimates a 0.4% growth in memberships in Q1 while YMC-partner credit unions averaged 1.61%for Q1. Loan growth again shows the tenacity and determination of our credit union partners showing an average growth of 13.26% compared to CUNA’s data that show 3.5% loan growth.

YMC Clients vs All Credit Unions in Q1 2022

Numbers do not lie, and the story they are telling is it is a great time to be a credit union seeking relevancy and growth. You may be reading these numbers, wanting to beat the averages, asking, “How can we reach those percentages?” If you want growth, start by injecting relevance into your credit union marketing campaigns.

Look at what makes your credit union, your membership, and your area unique. Some of the best campaigns or promotions we’ve helped run haven’t been shortcutting rates, promising outlandish things or even guaranteed approval. They’ve been ones with imagery, copy, and giveaways hyper-focused on the local area where members live.

Giving away crawfish in Louisiana, fireworks in Wyoming and Dollywood passes in Tennessee – any way credit unions can target members’ existing interests is sure to be a game-winning campaign. Auto promotions featuring images of the cars and trucks most driven in your area and mortgage promotions with images of obtainable, affordable homes versus unaffordable dream homes speak volumes to your ideal member.

That festival or event you avoid because it’s too crowded or it’s always on the hottest day of the year, but you know your members are going? Find a way to leverage that into unique credit union marketing campaigns.

Does a high percentage of your membership vacation in the same destination every year like a specific beach or area of the country? Make that a giveaway!

Every city has a festival or event, a local restaurant, or even an experience like a backyard crawfish boil that makes it unique. Find those locations and opportunities that make your area unique and focus there.

"Only recently have I realized that being different is not something you want to hide or squelch or suppress." - Amy Gerstler

Want to get started? Here’s how you can help:

  • Activities
    • What does your ideal member do for fun? Local events, festivals, concerts, you name it and if the member does it, we should position it or sponsor it.
  • Traditions
    • What are those local traditions that seem commonplace? Chances are if you think it’s too common to use, so do your competitors. Let’s leverage those to illustrate we are more in sync with our members’ lives than the banks.
  • Destinations
    • Where does your member go? For example, some cities or states in the country have an unusually high number of residents that travel to one or two primary destinations (Ex. The most traveled destination for Hawaii residents is Las Vegas). Let’s leverage that for an awesome campaign!

People feel a sense of pride in where they live and their local communities. Banks have routinely shut down neighborhood and rural branches and miss this opportunity in their marketing and branding. Credit unions can fill that gap – and take advantage of the attention. After all, we are the local choice. We are the best choice financial services option for consumers. Now, we must demonstrate we are the most relevant choice for them in your credit union marketing.

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