Big Banks and Fintechs are Fighting it Out. What About Credit Unions?


recent Forbes article titled, “The checking account war is over: The fintechs have won” certainly caught my attention. Of course, once I clicked and saw the author was Ron Shevlin I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Shevlin quickly pointed out the success of Chime, PayPal and Square in mega growth and the decline of the big banks like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

As we begin building out our credit union marketing strategies and plans for the next year, that ‘sticky’ old checking product will enter the conversation. So perhaps the data that Shevlin presented from Cornerstone Advisors might come in handy. Here are a few quick highlights that caught my eye:

  • PFI no longer means ‘primary.’ It means preferred. Of the consumers who have opened a checking account in 2022 or 2023, six in 10 have more than one checking account.
  • If your niche is blue collar, hard-working, modest-income consumers, you have opportunity. More than half (52%) of consumers opening an account with a megabank in 2023 earn more than $75k. Among new digital bank/fintech customers, just 21% earn that much.
  • Big banks are no longer the go-to. Since 2020, the percentage of Gen Zers who consider a megabank to be their primary checking account provider has dropped from 35% to 27%, and among millennials from 41% to 32%.

I was keeping the faith through the article, seeing no mention of credit unions – until I did. And it wasn’t the good news I was hoping for.

“Regional banks, community banks and credit unions are all seeing a decline in the percentage of their customers and members who consider them to be the primary provider, as digital banks and fintechs become the dominant primary provider. Today, more than a third of Gen Zers and millennials, and nearly three in 10 Gen Xers, consider a fintech or digital bank to be their primary checking account provider.”

My take-away as we begin credit union strategic planning and marketing for the next year? One word: relevance.

You must be investing in technology. You must pair it with the in-person option that technology lovers don’t know they need (or think they don’t need) until they are dealing with an account issue. Create messaging around solving that pain point for the consumer before they realize they have a problem. Use your digital platforms to serve that message and make it easy for your future members to do business with you.

Not sure where to start? Let’s talk!

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Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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