Credit Union Marketing Strategies to Master the Art of Member Growth


Multibillion-dollar credit unions have the luxury of playing the numbers game and not having to hyperfocus on an ideal member. Those credit unions have the scale and the resources to truly serve as a community financial institution.

What about smaller credit unions with less than $500 million? The farther you get from that $500-million mark, the smaller your assets are, and the more your credit union marketing strategies must hyperfocus on a niche to survive, which means having a highly specific ideal member in mind and serve them well.

With few exceptions, the more specific you can be about your credit unions ideal member, the more growth opportunities you have. And your existing numbers will show that. Need proof?

Palmetto First Federal Credit Union ($62 million) and Maple Federal Credit Union ($63 million) are both outperforming their peers in almost every category, including membership growth. While their peers are averaging 0.02% membership growth over a 12-month period, Palmetto First are experiencing 1.3% growth and Maple’s membership grew 3.67%. These are not flukes nor anomalies. These numbers are consistent.

How have they accomplished such great success as so many other credit unions of similar size are stagnant or even declining?

They have a very specific ideal member and are focused on serving them well.

Here are a few credit union marketing strategies Your Marketing Co. has used with those two credit unions to find and serve their ideal member well:

  1. Ask yourself, “Where is the opportunity?” In both credit unions, we have identified niche markets that were not being served by other banks and credit unions in their community, and the credit unions filled that gap. Generally speaking, both have a lot of competition from banks and other credit unions, but none of those other financial institutions want to serve their niches, leaving a very large piece of the pie for both Palmetto First and Maple to serve their members very well.
  2. Once you’ve identified that ideal member, you need to develop a positioning statement that isn’t very interchangeable – it must be unique. Good rates and good service aren’t going to cut it. In Maple’s niche example of serving those of modest means (lower income, poor credit), the credit union has positioned itself as “the perfect place for imperfect people.” There is no slimy “bad credit, come here” predatory lending words. It’s focused on the human element of when life happens and refraining from judgment on a person’s situation.
  3. Offer an introductory product or service targeting that ideal member to begin the member-relationship dance. This offers their credit unions the opportunity to earn more share of wallet after earning hero status by doing what no other financial institution was willing to do: uniquely serve their ideal member.

Of course, many other elements go into achieving success as a niche credit union – too many to include in this one blog post, but considerations such as staff training, policy changes and appropriate branding, for example. It’s an audacious step, and one we’ve helped many credit unions successfully navigate. After all, our goal is to help credit unions avoid unnecessary mergers by empowering credit unions to survive and thrive by engaging, educating and retaining their next generation of members. How can I help you?

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

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!

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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