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  • Ian McCain

Targeting the Right Accounts at the Right Stage: A Strategic Approach for Credit Unions



Dartboard with a dart in the bullseye

Targeting the right accounts at the right stage of a member’s lifecycle is crucial for building lasting relationships and ensuring long-term loyalty. By understanding and leveraging the distinct financial stages of consumers, financial institutions can tailor their outreach and interactions to meet the specific needs of their members, ultimately enhancing their financial security and satisfaction.


The Five Financial Stages

Over a member’s lifecycle, consumers can be segmented based on the ratio of their current income to financial assets (savings and investments). This segmentation reveals a progression of five distinct financial stages, ranging from households with virtually no savings to those with substantial financial assets. As consumers transition from one financial stage to the next, their financial security increases, and the importance of the relationship with their primary financial provider becomes more significant. Let's delve into each stage and the critical interactions needed to capture and retain members effectively.


Financial Stage 1: Non-Existent Savings

At this stage, members have virtually no savings. Despite their lower overall financial value, establishing loyalty during this phase is crucial. Key interactions should focus on:

  • Building Trust: Offer personalized financial advice and support to help members start their savings journey.

  • Educational Resources: Provide tools and resources to improve financial literacy and empower members to make informed decisions.


Financial Stage 2: Minimal Savings Given Income

As members begin to establish increasing stability, deepening the relationship becomes vital. Important interactions at this stage include:

  • Enhanced Engagement: Strengthen relationships through personalized communication and tailored financial products.

  • Building Long-Term Stickiness: Ensure ongoing active engagement by addressing specific financial needs and goals.


An inflection point occurs between this stage and the next, where the membership value dramatically increases in relation to the interactions and outreach required to acquire the accounts trust. It is critical to secure these relationships early, as 58-60% of members are most likely to switch or replace their deposit products when in stages 1 and 2.


Financial Stage 3: Balancing Needs and Goals

At this stage, members' financial assets have grown. The most important interactions needed to secure long-term patronage have already occurred. Key strategies include:

  • Advanced Financial Planning: Offer services that help members balance their immediate needs with long-term financial goals and investments.

  • Proactive Support: Continue providing personalized advice to maintain and strengthen the relationship.


Financial Stage 4: Generating Wealth

As members generate more wealth, the need for viable long-term investment products increases. Important interactions at this stage should focus on:

  • Investment Products: Provide a range of investment tools and products tailored to the member’s goals.

  • Comprehensive Financial Services: Offer holistic financial planning that includes digital wallets, loans, and credit card products, though these may decrease in importance.


Financial Stage 5: Established Wealth

In this stage, members have substantial financial assets. Investment tools and products become critical, with other products, including deposit accounts, being less important. Strategies should include:

  • Tailored Investment Solutions: Offer sophisticated investment products and personalized advice.

  • Maintaining Loyalty: Ensure high-value members feel valued and receive exceptional service, as they are three times more likely to switch or replace an investment product compared to Stage 3.


Understanding and targeting the right accounts at the right stage of their financial journey is essential for building strong, long-lasting relationships with members. By focusing on the specific needs and priorities of members at each stage, financial institutions can enhance member loyalty, increase financial security, and ensure long-term success. Capturing deposit relationships early in a member’s financial journey and providing tailored support as they grow financially will position financial institutions as trusted partners in their members' financial lives.


Datum Evolve is committed to helping credit unions navigate these stages effectively, providing expert insights and tailored solutions to thrive in the digital age. Let’s redefine what’s possible together.

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