Jul 24 2023
EDITION 31 - Are credit union members rate tarts?
Several responses to this question by credit union leaders:*Rate tart is a term used in banking to describe someone who transfers balances repeatedly, chasing the best possible interest rates on savings. David McAuley, CEO, Donore CU, Ireland " Are our members 'rate tarts'* and leave the credit union, if we pay insufficient dividend? Our members in the main are not big savers. So, while there will be one or two members disgruntled with no dividend and they do tend to be in the “older” category and not borrowing. For the last few years due to the prevailing low interest (or zero rate interest situation), there has been no clamour for dividends. Also, the CBI has “encouraged” CUs not to give dividends. This year some CUs have distributed but they have needed to justify that decision".Karen Farrow, Chief Officer, Just CU, England "Historically, we have always paid a min 2% dividend and used to be very proud of this. We were also worried that if we didn't pay it that members would leave and take their shares with them. However about 3 years ago, we changed this and since then have paid nil/low or capped dividend - we have seen virtually no detriment to the share balance". John Smith, Governance Officer, HEYCU, England "Are our members 'rate tarts'* and leave the credit union, if we pay insufficient dividend? In our experience here at HEY Credit Union, that doesn't appear to be the case at all. It would seem that very few of our members are saving with us because of the return, and more likely that other factors are the prime motivators, such as trust and safety (just want somewhere they trust to look after their money), ability to access funds without fuss, our customer care standards (they feel we look after them), habit, desire to support a local community enterprise, co-operative values, and perhaps lack of awareness of alternatives". Christine Moore, CEO, Manchester CU, England "No, I don’t think many of our members are ‘rate tarts’, in fact I think the contrary is true. Some people who joined specifically for the Gold Saver a few years ago did take their money out when it closed (less than half). A focus group of savers we spoke to in 2018 overwhelmingly agreed they were not interested in the rate but glad their money was being used for good and to help other people (very heart-warming to hear!)".Michael Byrne, CEO, Core Credit Union, Ireland Are our members 'rate tarts' and leave the credit union, if we pay insufficient dividend? The vast majority of members are not. Reality is most members have modest savings which wouldn’t attract much interest no matter where they are held. A small number (but do hold proportionally more of the savings) would be rate sensitive and will be looking for a return. I would estimate that less than 5%of savings would be at risk of moving for better rates. Talking Credit Unions with Chris Smith is a regular podcast dedicated to informing credit union practitioners, leaders and opinion formers on variety of industry topics. To contact Chris Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org