Credit unions are finding more value in the financial wellness of their members as they look to gain a competitive advantage over traditional banks. Nowadays, with more families living paycheck-to-paycheck, and 40% of U.S. credit union members living paycheck to paycheck, on any given day 49% of Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency (source: Motley Fool). Credit unions have a unique opportunity to stand out as innovators in the industry and as a path to more excellent financial health for their members and employees.  

According to a recent survey by FIS™, 81% of credit unions believe that financial wellness programs will increase member loyalty and retention. The same survey found that 77% of credit unions are increasing their focus on member education through digital tools and social media. Sixty-eight percent of credit unions have implemented financial wellness programs, and 65% plan to do so in the next 12 months. Financial wellness programs often include a variety of online resources that help members better manage their money. Some examples include financial planning activities, budgeting tools, and calculators that help members visualize the most effective uses for their money.  

Credit unions have been at the forefront of the financial wellness movement since its inception. It makes sense that credit unions would continue to be champions of teaching their members how to manage their money responsibly and effectively. Credit unions have always played an essential role in their communities. They offer a valuable service that allows people who may not otherwise have access to financial services to have a safe place to deposit their money and access loans. As the credit union industry grows, so does its reputation as a trusted institution with a strong sense of community. Nationally, many credit unions uphold these tenets: they empower credit union members through affordable, beneficial financial products and services. Financial literacy resources, programs, and initiatives directly through credit unions help support that vision.  

The importance of financial fitness for credit unions cannot be overstated. It is crucial. To leverage their unique position as an advocate for their members’ financial well-being, credit unions need to take advantage of programs that can help them reach new audiences and deliver better outcomes for members and employees. Financial fitness programs go well beyond the bounds of traditional financial institutions, giving credit unions the chance to expand their outreach and help members not just with their finances, but their overall well-being. And while it’s important that credit unions not lose sight of these goals, financial fitness is a win for everyone involved.