Filene research offers benchmark for diversity and inclusion in US credit unions

DEI practices can drive credit union financial performance, the study suggests

A survey from the Filene Research Institute suggests that diversity, equity and inclusion practices are most effective when implemented in clusters or bundles, as part of an integrated, strategic approach.

In particular, the US thinktank found that strategy, goals and tracking drive credit union financial performance.

The research was carried out by Dr Quinetta Roberson, who leads Filene’s Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and her collaborator, researcher McKenzie Preston. The study also emphasises the importance of enterprise-wide alignment and the transformational power of DEI for the credit union value proposition and overall business model.

The survey found that credit unions which focus on strategy, goals and tracking when working on DEI have a higher return on assets and higher net income than those that do not.

“The research suggests that taking this bundle approach – organising DEI efforts across different sets of practices with performance measures – can offer credit unions a measurable impact on performance,” said UW Credit Union president and CEO, Paul Kundert.

The study is based on 304 responses from 232 US credit unions and system partners, which corresponds to a 4% response rate for the entire credit union system, representing approximately 25% of all credit union assets.

Filene will continue to explore the topic via a second iteration of the Credit Union DEI Policies and Practices Survey, which will be launched in March 2022. This will look at other success metrics that are affected by DEI practice bundles – going beyond standard measures of financial performance such as ROA and net income.

It will also look at how DEI practice bundles affect performance – for instance by enhancing internal operations, or improving services and messaging to members.

Credit unions wishing to take part can contact Filene’s senior director of research, Taylor Nelms, at [email protected] for more information.

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