Case Study: Credit Union Uses Market Research to Increase New Members

A common challenge across all types of organizations is acquiring new business while keeping existing customers happy and loyal. Specifically, banks and credit unions struggle to maintain steady business development because of the perceived notion of, "It's too much of a hassle to switch banks."

A great way banks and credit unions can overcome this perception is by using market research to speak with non-customers or the general public. By partnering with a market research company who specializes in banks and credit unions, a financial institution is able to better position their business as a one worth leaving a current financial provider for.

A great example of this is a recent project Drive Research conducted with a credit union. The primary goal of this research was to learn how the credit union can increase new members by using both quantitative and qualitative methods to reach non-members.

Learn more about the objectives, approach, and outcomes for this study!

Drive Research recently completed a market research study for a credit union. The credit union discovered new ways of acquiring new banking members by using facts and evidence.


A credit union partnered with Drive Research to conduct quantitative and qualitative market research. The objectives of the market research included:

  • Providing the necessary data to acquire new and more profitable members
  • Acquire more deposits
  • Re-position the credit union's product and branding

The data and findings from the market research provided the credit union with unbiased, credible, and representative views of its target market. This can be a challenge for credit unions who choose to perform in-house market research. It's difficult for marketers to look at their business from a 360 point of view and with fresh eyes, to achieve this type of data.

By partnering with a market research company for credit unions, the financial institution was able to use the project results to fuel their operations, marketing, and business strategy.


To address the objectives at-hand, Drive Research recommended using a combination of: (1) a quantitative online survey to reach non-members (measure) and (2) 16 qualitative one-on-one interviews with non-members (explore).

By utilizing a hybrid market research approach, the credit union saw a full picture into new ways of how best to acquire new members.

Additionally, the online survey added a greater value to the credit union market research study by creating a pool of interested participants for the interviews.

The survey and interviews targeted those who reside in ZIP codes within a 10 mile radius of the credit union branches. While the market area covered a large amount of rural areas, our team was able to exceed the goal number of completes within the desired timeline.

Online survey fieldwork

For the online survey, Drive Research drafted, programmed, fielded, and analyzed the non-member questionnaire.

Fieldwork for the survey began on January 23 and was completed on February 13, 2019. The survey asked non-members to answer 21 questions. On average the 21-question online survey took non credit union members 7 minutes to complete. In total, 215 non-members completed the online survey.

Respondents were screened to ensure they were:

  • A banking decision-maker in their household
  • A customer of a bank or credit union
  • Not currently employed at a bank or credit union

The survey sample produced a highly reliable margin of error at the 95% confidence level. This means if the survey was conducted 100 more times, 95 of out 100 times the results would yield results within +/- 6.7% of the stated totals in this report.

Want to learn more about online surveys? Here are 6 steps to conduct a market survey like this one.

Research interviews

For the one-on-one interviews, Drive Research remained fully involved from recruiting non banking members, to scheduling and moderating the interviews. For this portion of the credit union market research, qualitative fieldwork began on May 8 and lasted through May 24, 2019.

The interview guide used by the moderators consisted of 34 questions. On average, the interviews were conducted in 35 minutes. A total of 16 interviews were conducted.

Similar to the online survey, respondents were screened to ensure they were:

  • A banking decision-maker in their household
  • A customer of a bank or credit union
  • Not currently employed at a bank or credit union
  • A prospect for the credit union (non-member)

Learn all about research interviews and what the process looks like.


The credit union market research report included a project background and methodology, an executive summary of themes, an infographic, respondent persona, recommendations, action items, and next steps for market research.

The credit union online survey answered the following research objectives:

  1. What is the awareness of the credit union?
  2. What are sources of awareness for the credit union?
  3. What is the perception of the credit union?
  4. What drives perceptions of the credit union?
  5. Who do consumers bank with?
  6. How satisfied are consumers with their PFI?
  7. What do consumers look for in a financial institution?
  8. Why would a consumer switch?

The credit union one-on-one interviews answered the following research objectives:

  1. What are typical behaviors of potential members?
  2. How do potential members currently bank?
  3. How easy do potential members think it is to switch?
  4. What is the ideal bank or credit union?
  5. How did potential members choose their PFI?
  6. What are potential members missing?
  7. What are thoughts on the credit union's branding?
  8. What are hot button topics?

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Knowledge in the financial services industry is one of our specialties. Ready to learn more about our market research services?

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