Riverwoods, IL, February 24, 2012 – Credit union members’ attitudes about the economy improved significantly over the past quarter, according to quarterly data released today from the credit union member demographic of the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor.
Economic Conditions Viewed More Favorably
Credit union members rating the U.S. economy as “good” or “excellent increased to 10 percent in January 2012 from 5 percent in October 2011.Those members rating the economy as poor decreased 16 percentage points to 53 percent from a record-high 69 percent reported in October. During the same time period, non-credit union members rating the economy as poor decreased 9 percentage points to 60 percent in January 2012.
Similarly, credit union members viewing economic conditions as improving in January jumped significantly from nearly 13 percent in October 2011 to 34 percent in January 2012. Those who believe the economy is worsening declined 17 percentage points from 59 percent to 42 percent during the quarter. Non-credit union members’ views changed less with 26 percent believing the economy is improving, up 11 percentage points, and 50 percent indicating the economy is worsening, down 14 percentage points.
Views of Personal Finances Also Improves
The survey also determined that confidence about personal finances is much higher among credit union members than non-members. While 29 percent of credit union members feel their personal finances are getting better, only 20 percent of non-credit union members had the same view. For members, this represents an increase of 12 percentage points over October 2011.
Credit union members who rate their personal finances as “good” or “excellent,” increased 5 percentage points from 32 percent in October 2011 to 38 percent in January 2012. Non-credit union members’ views improved only 3 percentage points from 28 percent in October 2011 to 31 percent in January 2012.
Spending and Saving Intentions Among Credit Union Members Rises
With an improving outlook on the economy and their personal finances, credit union members are likely to keep their discretionary spending intentions the same or increase them in the month ahead compared to what was reported last October. Non-credit union members are also planning to increase or keep their spending intentions the same in the month ahead though not at the percentages of their credit union counterparts.
Here are a few examples:
- 50 percent of credit union members plan to spend the same or more on discretionary purchases like going out to dinner or a sporting event in the month ahead, a 4-point increase from last October. Non-credit union members only showed a 2-point increase from 45 to 47 percent.
- 50 percent of credit union members plan to spend the same or more on home improvement purchases over the next 30 days, also 4 points higher than October 2011. Forty-four percent of non-credit union members plan to spend the same or more on home improvement purchases, a 2-point increase October.
- 56 percent of credit union members plan to spend the same or more on a personal vacation or gym membership in the next month, a 9-point increase since October 2011. Only 48 percent of non-credit union members plan to spend the same or more on a vacation or gym membership, just 3points higher than October
- Savings and investing intentions are even on the rise for credit union members, as 62 percent plan to save and invest the same or more in the month ahead, 4 points higher than last October. Non-credit union members saw a 5-point rise in this category from 51 percent to 56 percent in the number planning to save invest the same or more over the next month.
The findings among credit union members are part of the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, which polls more than 8,200 consumers each month. Beginning in June 2010, the survey asked participants to indicate if they were members of a credit union. Of those polled each month, on average 2,500 are credit union members. For more Discover U.S. Spending Monitor survey data, charts and information, please visit www.discoverfinancial.com/surveys/spending.shtml.
About Discover U.S. Spending Monitor
The Discover® U.S. Spending MonitorSM is a monthly index of consumer spending intentions and capacity that is based on interviews with a random sample of 8,200 U.S. adults conducted at a rate of 275 per night. In addition to spending, the survey asks consumers their opinions on the U.S. economy and their personal finances. Beginning in June 2010, the survey asked consumers to indicate if they were members of a credit union. Of those polled, between 2,000 and 3,300 each month are credit union members. Findings for the credit union member demographic will be released quarterly. The Monitor began in May 2007 with a base index of 100. Surveys are conducted by Rasmussen Reports, an independent survey research firm (www.rasmussenreports.com).
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers personal and student loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its Discover Bank subsidiary. Its payment businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discoverfinancial.com.