Grow Members, Loans, and Assets Without Increasing Overhead

As the year draws to a close, many credit unions are already looking to set their budgets for next year. Oftentimes, CUs feel like they can't just do anything they want, as it typically means they have to hire more people and spend more money. Thankfully, this is not the case--it's more than possible to grow a lot in 2024 and beyond, even if you only have a few employees. If you just remember a few basic pointers along the way.

grow credit union

Why Being a "Small" CU Is Not a Problem

Being a small credit union is not a liability. In fact, credit unions thrive when they:

  • Lean into the challenges. Running a credit union comes with unique obstacles. They look at it as a puzzle to be solved, not as an insurmountable hurdle.
  • Know Your Members. A deep understanding of who your members are, what they want, and what they need will change everything.
  • Build a clear organizational identity. Nobody does what you do quite like how you do it and that is a competitive advantage.
  • Track progress. Small credit unions that carefully choose their metrics and that focus on member engagement tend to do well for themselves.


Best Ways to Grow With the Lowest Overhead

Just a few of the growth opportunities that your credit union has that don't require a significant investment in overhead include ones like:


Membership Growth.

Here, you would want to lean into things like word-of-mouth marketing and social media marketing. Word-of-mouth is something CUs should be focused on anyway--turning one positive member experience into two, into four, etc. Social media accounts on Facebook, X, and similar sites are free, but they do require effort to manage.

Growing your credit union membership is integral to growth. Acquiring a new member can be expensive, but it does not have to be. Increase membership without incurring more overhead with:

Word-of-Mouth Marketing:

Turn one positive member experience into 2, 3, or even 40, like what happened to this one credit union. Your credit union can encourage its members to market for you with these ideas:

  • The Extra Mile: Going above in beyond, so your members can't help themselves but tell their friends. 
  • Take-Home Reminders: Sending your members home with business cards or swag to remind them to talk about your credit union. 
  • Member Support: Train your member service reps to provide exemplary help to avoid negative word-of-mouth marketing that comes with frustrating experiences. 
Social Media Marketing:

Organic, high-traffic social media posts are more beneficial than paid social media when it comes to building a loyal following. If you are in it for the long game:

  • Algorithms: First, understand the algorithms for each social media platform here
  • Post Regularly: There is so much to learn about social media marketing, but don't wait to post until you know exactly what to post. The most important thing is to start, and you will learn as you go. 
  • Choose a Platform: Find out which platforms your members are using. Posting places your members or future members are not will make your social media efforts ineffective. 


Loan Growth.

Increasing loan volume is a key part of your growth strategy. Loan growth does not always require new infrastructure and new employees. Find out how to grow your credit union through loan volume with minimal overhead through efficiency and strategic partnerships: 

Partner with Loan Companies:

As long as the ROI is positive, utilize companies that offer seamless loan offerings for your members. Here are some examples:

  • Emergency Loans: offering these loans to your members will help serve them in a time of need. FLEX partners with QCash to help your members when they need it the most. 
  • Personal Loans: FLEX partners with CreditSnap to let your members get a loan within three minutes. 
Make Loan Applications Easy:

Loan application abandonment is robbing your credit union from loan growth. Remove any friction from loan application process by incorporating the following: 

  • eSignatures: Do not make members come into your branch in order to complete a loan application. This will deter them from finishing it. 
  • Automated Loan Decisions: The faster your credit union can give your members an answer, the better their experience will be. Don't lose their attention. Check out FLEX's digital lending eGuide to find out how to create a frictionless lending experience. 
  • Credit Scores: Many times, members want to know their credit score before applying for a loan. Make this step super easy by providing a credit score feature. FLEX integrates with a partner to provide real-time credit scores. 


Asset Growth.

This is an opportunity for your credit unions to offer the market exactly what it needs - provided that you have done your best to understand the market you're serving.

Know Your Members

Your credit union will only increase its assets if you can add value to your members' lives. This means you have to know what they want and need. Get to know your members. 

  • Run a Survey: Using google forms, email a survey to your members to find out what they want and need. Maybe you are not offering a product or service that could provide added value to their lives. This is a free and easy way to get feedback. 
  • Listen: An unsatisfied member is a perfect opportunity to find out how you can better serve your community. Find out what could have gone better and adjust your products and services to meet the market demand. 
  • Customer Interviews: Some members have been with your credit union for so long. Find out why they have stayed with your CU to know what potential members might be looking for. 


Empowering Small Credit Union Growth: A Case Study on Ironworkers USA Credit Union's Success with FLEX

Not too long ago, Ironworkers USA Credit Union (based out of Portland, Oregon) utilized a deep understanding of its market to cater to the precise needs of its members. It did this by partnering with FLEX to offer technologies like remote deposit capture and mobile banking, among other methods. But through it all, it made sure to get creative and work with members to find the best way to meet their financial needs.

As stated, Ironworkers USA is one of our many clients at FLEX, and we're proud to have played a role in the results they've achieved. We're also eager for the opportunity to do the same for your credit union as well. Read more about their journey to success in this free case study.

FLEX Efficiency Case Study


If you're ready to grow your credit union's membership, assets, and loans without increasing your overhead, or if you're trying to create a rock-solid technological foundation upon which to build from moving forward, contact us today to learn more about what FLEX can do for you.


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