Social Media Analysis Can Connect the Dots between Borrowers and Lenders
As competition for borrowers grows fiercer, lending institutions must strive to attract customers with benefits beyond low interest rates. We’ve already explored the use of ForSight’s social media analysis to inform a bank’s competitive positioning, and our analysis of the online conversation about credit unions points to the growing appeal of attentive customer service and contributing to a community as reasons consumers switch to credit unions.
To demonstrate the breadth of possible insights from social media analysis, as well as its relevance to a wide range of business units, today’s findings are product-focused. In this post, we’ll use online conversations to discover how credit unions in particular can leverage auto loans to attract borrowers and improve business performance.
To uncover actionable insight from social media analysis, it is often helpful to start by studying a broader conversation, such as the conversation about auto loans. An opinion analysis allows us to quantify the relative importance of consumers’ concerns as they pursue financing for their vehicle purchases:
Nearly half of the conversation about car loans involves financial burden (47%), with authors seemingly concerned about balancing this new debt with other obligations such as student loans (13%). Only 17% is specifically about seeking low interest rates. While these two topics are interrelated, as securing a low interest rate makes payments less daunting, the relative proportions underline a key finding: today’s consumers are overwhelmed with debt, and they express anxiety even when taking out a relatively small, often low-interest auto loan.
With further research about auto loans from credit unions, we find that credit unions are uniquely positioned to attract and serve such customers. Over an 18-month period, more than 90% of the conversation about credit unions and auto loans occurs in longer-form venues such as blogs and forums. The purpose of the majority of posts was to seek or offer advice. Thus the conversation was made up of a number of nuanced opinions towards credit union car loans that are particularly likely to be influential:
Very few opinions towards financing at credit unions were negative (10%), and criticism was driven by an inability to secure financing, which is expected to some extent. More useful insights lie on the positive side, where three themes emerged:
- Customers perceive credit unions to offer better interest rates than dealers, who are often associated with pushing “bad deals” to earn commission (20%).
- The loan approval process is seemingly faster and simpler through credit unions (13%).
- Consumers value, and publicly applaud, the longer-term financial benefits of building a relationship with a credit union (14%).
This niche of consumers discussing their financial choices online demonstrate an appreciation for exactly what auto loan customers seek: help with their broader financial conditions, and a relationship beyond the closing of the loan. Credit unions, already known to offer superior customer service, can blur the boundary between loan officer and trusted advisor. The insight that consumers view direct auto loans as beneficial not only for immediate needs but towards future financial goals can infiltrate loan officer training, product marketing, and brand campaigns. Given the relative proportions identified in the general auto loan conversation mentioned above, such messaging may be even more appealing to today’s borrowers than promoting the lowest rates.
In a matter of hours, Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform helped us understand consumer opinions towards direct auto loans (as represented by over 50,000 social media posts), identifying a unique opportunity for credit unions to use a common and inexpensive product to cultivate loyal customers who turn to them for additional financial needs in the future. Check out our financial study, Profiling the Unbanked and Underbanked.