Not-for-profit credit unions offer a better customer experience than mainstream banks

Not-for-profit credit unions offer a better customer experience than mainstream banks

A new report by the Financial Inclusion Centre looking at the attitudes and behaviours of existing credit union members found significant approval for the services offered by these local financial cooperatives.

The largest ever survey of credit union members that spoke to over 12,500 users in 29 different credit unions across the country, found that 81% of members said they were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. It also showed that members felt the services provided by the credit unions were good value and offered a positive customer service experience. To set this in context, a recent Which? survey found that mainstream banks average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

The survey found that 83.6% of Derbyshire Community Bank’s members were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union; 89.3% felt the services provided by the credit union were good value or very good value and 87.3% felt the customer service was good or very good.

The research also demonstrates just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit union members are also shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

There are currently around 442 credit unions across the UK with just over 1.5million members accessing a range of saving accounts, affordable loans and other financial services.

The membership survey was undertaken as part of the wider Barclays Credit Union Programme that will have invested £1 million over four years to support the expansion of the credit union sector to improve its effectiveness and sustainability and reach more financially excluded households.


Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, said:

“These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.

“We look forward to continue working on growing the credit union sector so that more households across the country have access to affordable credit alternatives in the future.”

“The findings show that credit unions are not simply used as a safe place for savings, with the majority of respondents making use of affordable loans offered by their credit union. With the current pressures on household finance, it’s important to support people in making the most of their finances, and credit unions have demonstrated their positive contribution to this.”


Sara Osborne, CEO said:

“We were delighted with the results of the survey.  It was the first one we had ever undertaken so we had no idea what the outcome would be.  Not only did we have a high response rate of around 24% but the responses across the board were extremely positive.

We sometimes assume that what we offer is not up to the standards of the banks but clearly this demonstrates that what we offer is valued more highly.”


For any enquiries please contact the Financial Inclusion Centre at:

Telephone:      Mick McAteer – 07837 797 748

Gareth Evans – 07949 237 114

Email:              mick.mcateer@inclusioncentre.org.uk



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