Credit Union Guide to Setting Marketing Budgets

A statistical analysis of 100 US credit unions reveals how much the industry spends on marketing, and how much each CU should budget.
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36kr analyzed the marketing budgets for 100 of the biggest credit unions in the U.S. Data was drawn from the marketing expenditures declared on NCUA call reports filed in July 2014. Here’s what we learned.

For starters, the size of the credit union marketing industry is probably sorely undervalued by many analysts in the financial sector. 36kr pegs marketing expenditures among America’s 7,000± credit unions at over $550 million annually. That’s more than half a billion dollars — no small potatoes. The top 100 credit unions spend over $400 million by themselves.

Credit unions’ total annualized investments in marketing average at approximately 0.10% of assets. This serves as the starting point for our formula.

Start With 0.10% of Assets As Your Baseline

You can add and subtract various amounts from this starting point — 0.10% of assets — using the criteria below to estimate credit union marketing budgets.

  • Size – Credit unions with $250 to $500 million in assets could subtract 0.01%. Credit unions with less than $250 million in assets could subtract 0.02%.
  • Charter – Credit unions with a single SEG in a closed charter can subtract up to 0.03%. Credit unions with a community charter should consider adding at least 0.02%.
  • Membership – Credit unions focused on a specific vocation (or similar niche) can subtract 0.02%.
  • Geography – Credit unions in a hyper competitive major metropolitan market (like New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.), can add up to 0.04%. Credit unions in rural markets can subtract up to 0.02%.
  • Goals – Credit unions that want to grow next year should add at least 0.01%. Credit unions that want aggressive growth should consider adding at least 0.03%.
  • Brand – Credit unions with a strong, distinct, well-known brand can subtract 0.01%. Credit unions that want a strong, distinct, well-known brand should add at least 0.02%.
  • Assets Per Member – Credit unions with average assets-per-member above $25,000 can subtract 0.02%. Credit unions with average assets-per-member below $10,000 should add at least 0.02%.

Please Note: This formula is a tool for rough estimating only.

Marketing Spend for 100 of The Biggest Credit Unions in the United States

Credit unions spend an average of between $8.00 and $16.00 per member on marketing. The median for the 100 credit unions in 36kr’s study was $12.52.

Melrose spends the most per member of any credit union. The $2 billion institution on has 24,448 members, so their $5.8 million marketing budget works out to $236.51 spent on marketing per member. That’s $200 more than the next credit union on the list (Bethpage at $34.77 per member).

Credit Union Assets
(Billions)
2014
Marketing
Budget
(Proj.)
Marketing
as a %
of Assets
$1 Spent
on Mktg.
For Every
[X] Assets
Marketing
Spend Per
Member
(Proj.)
Navy $60.49 $62,633,808 0.10% $965.84 $12.26
Pentagon $18.31 $17,142,948 0.09% $1,068.24 $13.33
BECU $12.52 $12,591,292 0.10% $994.26 $14.48
Suncoast Schools $5.83 $12,552,850 0.22% $464.69 $21.32
The Golden 1 $8.51 $11,015,856 0.13% $772.30 $16.31
Bethpage $5.69 $8,413,286 0.15% $675.75 $34.77
Mountain America $3.90 $7,760,852 0.20% $503.11 $16.37
American Airlines $5.66 $7,670,588 0.14% $737.99 $32.01
San Diego County $6.54 $7,237,736 0.11% $902.91 $26.93
America First $6.25 $7,155,526 0.11% $873.70 $10.85
Pennsylvania
State Employees
$4.23 $6,548,830 0.15% $645.44 $15.58
OnPoint $3.52 $6,438,484 0.18% $547.36 $23.89
Municipal $2.04 $6,410,082 0.31% $317.62 $17.92
Randolph-Brooks $5.99 $5,862,264 0.10% $1,022.35 $12.22
Michigan State
University
$2.65 $5,792,110 0.22% $458.10 $31.27
Melrose $2.02 $5,782,088 0.29% $350.09 $236.51
Desert Schools $3.86 $5,666,860 0.15% $680.73 $18.38
TDECU $2.28 $5,605,270 0.25% $407.35 $29.27
Security Service $8.09 $5,399,594 0.07% $1,497.54 $5.45
SchoolsFirst $10.43 $5,392,232 0.05% $1,933.38 $8.95
Digital $5.66 $5,248,908 0.09% $1,078.67 $11.75
Bellco $2.49 $5,048,234 0.20% $492.54 $21.51
Grow Financial $1.99 $4,972,966 0.25% $399.73 $28.63
Mission $2.55 $4,871,596 0.19% $524.09 $28.52
Founders $1.67 $4,835,028 0.29% $344.81 $24.01
MidFlorida $2.07 $4,763,304 0.23% $433.61 $24.19
GECU $2.08 $4,713,212 0.23% $440.26 $14.98
Delta Community $4.64 $4,301,732 0.09% $1,079.41 $14.25
Citizens Equity $5.00 $4,209,732 0.08% $1,187.98 $13.91
VyStar $5.23 $4,143,876 0.08% $1,261.27 $8.98
Tinker $3.22 $4,110,520 0.13% $782.83 $13.81
Educational
Employees
$2.21 $3,898,794 0.18% $567.96 $17.15
Space Coast $3.21 $3,743,864 0.12% $858.14 $12.78
Georgia’s Own $1.85 $3,717,240 0.20% $496.41 $21.06
CommunityAmerica $1.97 $3,686,044 0.19% $534.00 $20.20
Alaska USA $5.58 $3,655,070 0.07% $1,525.79 $7.24
Citadel $2.01 $3,495,384 0.17% $575.50 $23.07
ESL $4.82 $3,479,604 0.07% $1,386.23 $10.65
California Coast $1.84 $3,386,930 0.18% $542.78 $26.76
First Tech $6.85 $3,326,030 0.05% $2,058.26 $8.90
Apple $1.92 $3,162,482 0.16% $608.50 $19.24
Lake Michigan $3.35 $3,128,880 0.09% $1,070.45 $13.59
SAFE $2.10 $3,106,610 0.15% $676.48 $17.58
Hudson Valley $3.97 $3,068,404 0.08% $1,295.08 $10.70
Community First $2.03 $3,052,550 0.15% $663.62 $27.66
Nassau Educators $2.19 $2,900,844 0.13% $754.85 $17.58
Western $1.97 $2,888,774 0.15% $683.28 $17.17
Logix $3.83 $2,884,326 0.08% $1,329.39 $21.43
Baxter $1.99 $2,820,988 0.14% $703.82 $14.93
Credit Union Assets
(Billions)
2014
Marketing
Budget
(Proj.)
Marketing
as a %
of Assets
$1 Spent
on Mktg.
For Every
[X] Assets
Marketing
Spend Per
Member
(Proj.)
Wings Financial $4.04 $2,768,200 0.07% $1,458.58 $13.54
SECU (MD) $2.80 $2,728,660 0.10% $1,024.53 $11.82
State Employees $2.82 $2,717,264 0.10% $1,037.69 $8.80
Teachers $2.52 $2,689,974 0.11% $936.59 $10.27
Affinity $2.31 $2,685,600 0.12% $861.99 $19.71
Ent $4.01 $2,618,070 0.07% $1,530.96 $11.01
Northwest $2.56 $2,556,734 0.10% $1,002.57 $15.25
Visions $3.31 $2,537,568 0.08% $1,303.88 $15.41
Travis $2.24 $2,537,232 0.11% $883.48 $15.59
Members 1st $2.69 $2,480,684 0.09% $1,082.37 $9.21
Virginia $2.62 $2,480,398 0.09% $1,055.50 $10.47
WSECU $2.12 $2,432,406 0.11% $869.95 $11.55
Service $2.44 $2,422,942 0.10% $1,007.86 $12.96
Kinecta $3.37 $2,385,612 0.07% $1,414.14 $9.00
Alliant $8.15 $2,340,070 0.03% $3,481.97 $8.21
San Antonio $2.75 $2,285,198 0.08% $1,205.34 $9.14
Star One $6.74 $2,187,552 0.03% $3,080.01 $23.74
Eastman $2.96 $2,182,786 0.07% $1,355.29 $14.68
Chartway $1.89 $2,149,218 0.11% $879.19 $11.78
Redstone $3.68 $2,144,120 0.06% $1,717.64 $5.76
Fairwinds $1.76 $2,045,804 0.12% $862.01 $12.01
Patelco $4.11 $1,999,870 0.05% $2,057.42 $7.15
Coastal $2.28 $1,988,628 0.09% $1,147.95 $10.40
Summit $2.05 $1,963,664 0.10% $1,043.89 $14.11
Langley $1.86 $1,960,346 0.11% $948.72 $9.95
Spokane Teachers $1.90 $1,912,292 0.10% $995.60 $14.98
Provident $1.98 $1,902,804 0.10% $1,041.00 $18.25
First Community $1.99 $1,888,760 0.09% $1,055.01 $8.01
Veridian $2.48 $1,811,710 0.07% $1,368.13 $9.88
Keesler $2.16 $1,726,800 0.08% $1,252.99 $9.20
Redwood $2.39 $1,705,830 0.07% $1,400.18 $8.75
Teachers $4.97 $1,701,850 0.03% $2,919.09 $7.09
DFCU Financial $3.72 $1,678,310 0.05% $2,219.24 $7.82
United Nations $4.09 $1,602,734 0.04% $2,550.86 $14.97
Police & Fire $4.30 $1,509,312 0.04% $2,847.05 $6.78
Landmark $2.55 $1,443,124 0.06% $1,767.60 $6.08
Wright-Patt $2.85 $1,440,378 0.05% $1,978.11 $5.10
Robins $1.93 $1,391,806 0.07% $1,386.51 $8.88
JSC $1.81 $1,265,230 0.07% $1,430.81 $10.08
Chevron $2.47 $1,162,272 0.05% $2,124.28 $11.58
Atlanta Postal $2.04 $1,117,980 0.05% $1,826.72 $10.39
Wescom $2.77 $957,288 0.03% $2,890.83 $4.97
Tower $2.70 $627,598 0.02% $4,309.70 $4.72
State Employees $28.65 $623,372 0.00% $45,952.26 $0.33
Sandia Laboratory $2.07 $576,618 0.03% $3,593.96 $7.91
Technology $1.77 $478,788 0.03% $3,698.37 $6.74
Bank Fund Staff $3.88 $304,010 0.01% $12,757.07 $3.63
Merck Employees $1.91 $92,988 0.00% $20,522.51 $3.51
APCO Employees $2.47 $87,830 0.00% $28,121.61 $1.26
State Farm $3.92 $21,912 0.00% $178,886.47 $0.17
Connecticut State
Employees
$1.70 $2,904 0.00% $586,507.80 $0.04
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