Analysis of small credit union trends and opportunities for accountants
This paper reviews the benefits that small credit unions in the United States confer to their members and communities, the decrease in the number of institutions and members in recent history, the challenges facing small credit unions today, and how accountants can help small credit unions reverse these negative trends. Credit unions are able to pay higher interest rates on deposits, charge lower rates on borrowings, and charge fewer and lower fees than traditional banks. Additionally, bank customers benefit from the presence of credit unions through increased competition on rates. In the U.S., credit unions also serve traditionally underserved populations and, in the past, experienced high customer satisfaction ratings. However, there has been a 22 percent reduction in the number of small credit unions since 2008. This decrease can be linked to a decline in customer satisfaction, which is a result of the increased compliance and regulatory burden on already overworked staffs. The objective of this paper is to identify ways accountants can help small credit unions reverse these negative trends and thrive. By providing compliance and strategic planning support, accountants can reduce the time credit union staffs spend on non-customer related tasks and allow them to focus on serving their customers. This should allow credit unions to return to their previous levels of customer satisfaction and reverse the decline in membership and institutions.