CUA: Opportunities to deliver better value

Everyone needs banking products and each year CANSTAR research and rate the products and services available from our customer-owned institutions. This year we have looked at what 11 mutual banks, 38 credit unions and 7 building societies offer and how they rate against each other for products and services. Our aim was to uncover the best value for consumers by comparing products offered.

In 2015 CANSTAR is pleased to announce that CUA is our winner of the Customer-owned Institution of the Year.

Quite apart from CUA being the largest customer-owned financial institution, its products are impressive and stand up to microscopic scrutiny. We caught up with CUA General Manager, Products and Marketing, Jason Murray for some insights into the opportunities and challenges that customer-owned institutions face.

Q: In various industry surveys, customer satisfaction with their chosen customer-owned institution tends to be very high. In your experience, what is that customers like much about the model?

A: CUA′s personalised customer service through our branches and digital/ direct channels, and our competitive products which provide our customers with better value, help drive consistently high customer satisfaction scores for CUA. 87 per cent of CUA customers were satisfied or very satisfied during May 2015 (Roy Morgan).

CUA customers appreciate being able to access a range of financial services under one roof, including banking products, general insurance and health insurance.

CUA customers also know that because we are customer-owned, there are no dividends to shareholders. That means we can return our profits to customers by providing better value products and services, supporting community and charity initiatives, and investing in CUA′s future growth.

Q: CUA is Australia′s largest customer-owned banking provider – what special opportunities and challenges (if any) does being the biggest raise?

A: As Australia′s largest customer-owned financial institution, we have opportunities to deliver better value, innovative products and services, and a large branch network with a local focus.

Size and scale: CUA has been providing banking services to customers for nearly 70 years and now has more than $11.5 billion in assets and over 430,000 customers. Customers can be confident that CUA is strong and sustainable, which allows us to give back to our customers by providing better value products and services.

Innovation: CUA can be more nimble than other larger players, which puts us in a strong position to be able to deliver innovative and unique products and services to our customers. Our size allows us to invest in technology and innovation, while still being small enough to be able to implement change quickly and efficiently.

National branch network with a local focus: CUA has a national footprint, with 59 branches and our customers have access to over 3,000 ATMs through the rediATM network – one of the largest in Australia. CUA is also small enough to maintain a strong grass roots presence in the local communities where we operate – this includes providing grants to local schools through CUA Community Care, supporting charities like SIDS and Kids, volunteering with local community groups and being recognised in local business awards.

Q: CUA has a large number of branches and also terrific online functionality. So – which do your customers seem to prefer? Does it differ according to demographic?

A: It′s important to CUA that we give our customers choice over the channel they use to buy or browse our products and services, and how they transact with us as their banking provider. These channels include our 59 branches, CUA Direct call centres and digital channels, and also mortgage brokers.

Branches continue to be important to CUA′s customers. We′re also investing in upgrades to our digital platforms, like mobile banking, to provide an even better multi-channel customer experience.

The use of mobile banking by CUA customers is increasing significantly. The number of mobile banking logins each month has increased by 92 per cent in less than two years. CUA mobile banking log-ins now average more than 1.3 million log-ins per month – a similar number of log-ins to CUA web banking.

Mobile banking use is highest among CUA customers aged 18-32, while CUA web banking log-ins are highest among customers aged 48-62 years.

CANSTAR congratulates CUA on its win. Readers can download the CANSTAR report here.

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