Around a third of people surveyed by a company that provides technical expertise to the credit unions sector said they had closed their credit union accounts because of a lack of online services.
The research was carried out on behalf Wellington IT – described as the tech partner for the credit union sector.
It found that there was a fairly low level of awareness of the digital services that the credit unions offer.
Just two in five said they were aware that credit unions offered online banking and less than a third knew that the credit unions offer a mobile banking app.
The views of just over 1,000 consumers here were canvassed by the company Censuswide in April for the study.
“It’s clear that credit unions need to communicate more effectively to their customers about the range of digital services on offer, as no member should be closing an account due to a lack of online facilities,” Declan Colfer, Managing Director of Wellington IT, said.
“There is an opportunity here to grow more quickly by attracting younger members as Gen Z and Millennials exhibit a strong preference for digital services,” he added.
The research also found that three out of every five Irish people expect their total banking experience to be digital or virtual, with no more physical branches, in a decade’s time.
A third of participants said they would welcome such a development.
However, the remaining two thirds expressed a preference for direct contact with a human when conducting banking transactions.
The younger the person, the more likely they were to express a preference for lack of human interaction in banking.
Banks have been reducing their physical footprints in recent years with Bank of Ireland the most recent provider to announce the impending closure of over 100 branches on the island of Ireland.
Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland are expected to shut their branches when they depart the Irish market in the coming years.
However, there is the prospect that another bank could take over some of the branches.
A range of banking services are now offered by the post office, and the credit union sector has expanded the range of services it offers in recent years, including current accounts and, in some circumstances, mortgage lending.