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How are credit unions so good to their members?

Community 4 min read

23 Oct 2020

Unrivalled for six consecutive years, credit unions have been named Number 1 for Customer Experience by the CX Company in this year’s CXi Awards. The CXi Report is published annually by the CX Company based on a survey carried out on their behalf by Amárach Research. 

Amárach surveyed 2,500 Irish consumers who rated their customer experiences of 151 brands across ten sectors. Credit unions were deemed the overall winners with the highest scores across the six pillars of Customer Experience - Personalisation, Integrity, Expectations, Time & Effort, Empathy and Resolution. 

But why do credit unions keep winning this award, year on year? Well, credit unions operate on the basis of their not for profit ethos, they are people helping people and they really care about every member who walks through their door, picks up the phone, or sends them an email.

Credit unions are made by members for members, and this shines through in everything they do.  We’ve handpicked some examples of credit unions showing just why they’ve won the customer experience award for the past six years.  


Local love 

No matter which town or village or city in Ireland you find yourself in, there will always be a few constants. One constant is your local credit union. Credit unions are an essential service and have stayed open during this pandemic and will continue to do so under the new Level 5 restrictions announced by the Government this week. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes in how credit unions conduct their business with members. They have adapted their services and will continue to go above and beyond for their members.   

This is the case in Dublin, where 27 credit unions have come together with a new stay local, borrow local campaign. The idea behind this campaign is to promote local trade be it in shops, restaurant, bars or credit unions. Throughout the lockdown period, this group of Dublin credit unions came together to support each other and their local communities throughout the unprecedented times.  

Similarly down south, Access Credit Union, located in Skibbereen, West Cork have partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to launch a new local initiative. Featuring on Virgin Media News, Manager of Access CU, Elma Casey described the importance of this initiative in the hearts and minds of all those who are affected by closures due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. You can watch their feature here.  

Staying in the south of the country, The Lough Credit Union in Co. Cork have launched their new “Loyalty Fob” which gives members the opportunity to keep it local by offering discounts to members. The aim of this loyalty fob, which launched on International Credit Union by The Lough Credit Union, was to revitalize the local economy in the aftermath of the arrival of Covid-19. 13 local businesses around the area have come on board with this initiative which will see the community get through the tough times and bounce back stronger than ever.  

Mullingar Credit Union increased its fund to support community voluntary groups in their work in the local Community to €150,000 as the Credit Union expanded to take in Longford and Castlepollard and organisations in both areas received funding. Despite the onset of COVID 19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed, the Committee completed their work and are making financial awards to almost 250 individual organisations. The credit union are passionate about recognising the work of so many people who have been working away throughout the crises, trying to keep their organisations going and providing support to the wider community. 


Trusted voice 

The ethos of the credit union is based around people helping people. For over 60 years, credit unions have been the trusted voice by people in their local communities. Credit unions are there for the good times and the bad and will do their best for their members in any way they can. In the times the entire world finds itself in at the moment, people are yearning for the somebody to tell them some good news, a friendly face showing them they are there for them. And credit unions around the country have done just that.  

In Donegal, staff from Lifford Credit Union, sent a message to their members via their social media channels. The message was plain and simple, if you need us, we’re there. This message was delivered on International Credit Union Day, and while the entire country was consumed by the figures of Covid-19 and the impending lockdown of the entire country, Lifford Credit Union we’re the trusted voice in a time of need. You can check out their video here.  

Down South, Comhar Creidmheasa Corca Dhuibhne have put together bilingual information videos highlighting member’s stories and how the credit union has helped them. The videos produced with help from Údaras na Gaeltachta reiterate how trusted the credit union is in the community and how accessible it is to its members.  

Coming to the capital and visiting Core Credit Union, the trusted voice of credit unions turned into action when they launched their cash delivery service for their members. This service allows vulnerable members to access money while cocooning. The service, one of many supports implemented by the credit union in recent weeks, is supported by local Gardai and allows withdrawals of up to €200 per visit. Vulnerable members may also choose to appoint a designated authority to make small cash withdrawals on their behalf. When a member rings Core Credit Union, they trust them to take care of their finances and know that they will be safe.  

In the North of Ireland, Clonard Credit Union were already operating a home-visit scheme for members to access key credit union services who were unable to leave their own homes. They have extended this scheme to those self-isolating or cocooning, to ensure members access to services is on-going, particularly for those whose benefits are currently paid directly into the credit union.

As you can see, credit unions are at the heart of communities across Ireland, and while every town and village is different, the credit union experience is the same. This is why credit unions have come out on top of the customer experience awards for a world record 6 years in a row!