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Retaining Assets: Relationships Are the Key
Monday, December 19, 2016 6:40 AM

By: David Foster, VP CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., an affiliate of CUNA Mutual Group

Trillions of dollars will pass between generations in the coming decades, and financial institutions will wage a fierce battle over those assets. Credit unions can retain and increase assets during this transition by reaching out to members’ families to build deeper member relationships.

When a financial customer dies, it can have a significant impact on the institution. The Institute for Preparing Heirs estimates that $41 trillion will pass from one generation to another over the next 50 years, and 98 percent of those assets have the potential to move between financial institutions.1

Financial advisors working in credit unions are strongly positioned to build relationships with multiple generations of their clients’ families. Expanding those relationships will help the credit unions retain the assets of all products and services offered, including investments and insurance. And credit unions can help advisors build stronger relationships with members.

First, hire people who prioritize relationship building. Emphasize this priority in the interview process so new hires understand its importance.

Seek diverse employees who can connect to all genders, age groups, and ethnicities. Members will be comforted and can connect with employees sharing their ethnic or cultural background.

Support the investment services program to create vital relationships and establish the program as a core credit union service. Research shows households that purchase an investment product from their bank or credit union are 58 percent more likely to have a credit card, 122 percent more likely to have a first mortgage, and 613 percent more likely to have a second mortgage than other households.2

Credit unions can provide individual tools to help advisors build client relationships. These include client management software that can track family member information; stationery for writing condolences; and a budget for small gifts of appreciation.

Empower advisors to learn more about the grieving process and encourage them to hold seminars that target client needs.

“Educating members builds relationships and creates business opportunities,” says Jody Brown, CLU, ChFC, a financial advisor at Summit Credit Union, Madison, Wis. “If a member has a relationship with another advisor, I’m not going to upset that. I just want to offer encouragement, positive feedback, and provide the information they need. Personal service can leave a lasting impression.”

In summary, building relationships can take many forms, ranging from becoming a financial caretaker for a whole family or simply being there to support a family—even if it doesn’t lead to a new product relationship or immediate sale. Start building those relationships today.

Find out more in the new whitepaper, “Multi-Generational Membership: How a Financial Services Program can Help Retain Assets When a Client Passes Away,” from CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.


  1. Diane Doolin; Vic Preisser; Roy Williams. “Engaging and Retaining Families.” Investments & Wealth Monitor, Sept/Oct. 2011. Web. MAY 26, 2016.
  2. “The Value of an Investment Client,” Kehrer Bielan Research, 2015

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.