A Method To Measure Member Relationships

See how credit unions in different regions of the country are engaging with their members in this detailed ROM breakdown.

The credit union movement prides itself on offering superior rates, products, and services to its member-owners, but quantifying the value inherent in cooperative strategies can be tricky. The Return of the Member (ROM) index is one way to do that.

ROM is a comprehensive metric that uses 5300 data from all U.S. credit unions to quantify the value credit unions return to members. Designed by Callahan & Associates more than 20 years ago, ROM assigns every credit union in the United States a value between 1 and 100 based on three core functions savings, lending, and product usage.

Credit unions can use ROM to compare their performance against any peer group such as asset base or state to calculate a percentile rank and overall final score.

Callahan regularly reviews ROM data to see how credit unions of similar sizes compare against one another. The firm then shares insights it has learned from high performers on CreditUnions.com. For example, ROM performance helped Callahan uncover how a slim operating structure allowed Credit Union of Vermont to provide market-leading deposit and loan rates. Read about that here. And, Sharonview FCU has tracked its ROM score for more than 10 years. The South Carolina cooperative even includes a member benefit component based on ROM as part of its annual goal setting. Read about that here.

Where Do You Rank?

Callahan’s Return of the Member (ROM) uses a single metric to showcase the value a credit union delivers to members relative to peers. Want to know where you rank? Request your ROM score today.

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However, the following examination does not spotlight individual credit unions. Rather, it dives into the individual components of ROM and discusses their importance. To gain the most from the following insights, grab your ROM score and keep it handy for easy comparisons against your regional and national peers.

Return To Savers

The return to savers component of ROM measures how well a credit union provides deposit services to its members. It takes into account aspects such as dividends paid, changes in share balances, and the compound annual share growth.

  • Nationally, dividends as a percentage of total income stood at 14.0% as of midyear 2019. One year ago, that was 12.3%. Annualized dividends for the industry totaled $11.2 billion as of the second quarter of 2019.
  • Credit unions in the NCUA’s Eastern Region led the country in average dividends paid, at 0.94%. This metric is calculated by taking the total dividends and interest paid on deposits paid by the credit union divided by total shares.
  • The three-year share growth, which provides a longer-term view of savings trends at a credit union, was 6.5% for the industry at midyear.


Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com
U.S. NCUA Western NCUA Southern NCUA Eastern
Dividends/Income 14.0% 13.3% 14.4% 14.3%
Average Dividend Paid 0.87% 0.79% 0.89% 0.94%
3-Year Share Growth 6.5% 6.9% 5.7% 6.7%

Return To Borrowers

The return to borrowers, or lending component of ROM, recognizes that credit unions were created to provide credit to their members at a reasonable cost. It takes into account things like loan rates rewarding those institutions that offer lower rates as well as a credit union’s growth in lending and product variety. Because of the increased participation in the secondary market, Return To Borrowers also considers a credit union’s loan servicing portfolio.

  • As of June 30, 2019, the loan-to-share ratio, including mortgage servicing and excluding participations, was 98.5% for the industry.
  • Yield on average loans for the industry was 4.88% as of the second quarter of 2019. That’s an increase of 28 basis points from one year ago as credit unions continue to reap the benefits from the four rate hikes in 2018.
  • The average loan balance for consumer and real estate loans increased 1.0% year-over-year to $14,381 for the industry. Increased balances suggest higher usage and can be a proxy for the value members see in their cooperative’s loan products.


Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com
U.S. NCUA Western NCUA Southern NCUA Eastern
(Loans + Servicing Portfolio – Purchased Participations)/Shares 98.5% 101.8% 85.3% 105.1%
Yield on Average Loans 4.88% 4.62% 4.79% 5.23%
Growth in Average Consumer & RE Loan Balance 1.0% 0.2% 2.4% 0.8%

Member Service Usage

The member service usage component of ROM measures whether members are using the credit union as their primary financial institution. It considers performance in areas like the number of core accounts a credit union holds and penetration rates as well as employee measures like productivity and revenue generated per dollar of salary and benefit.

  • At midyear, a full 58.4% of members held a share draft account with their credit union.
  • Credit unions in the NCUA Western Region reported the highest auto loan penetration at in the second quarter of 2019 24.5%.
  • Industry revenue grew 12.4% from 2018 levels, while salary and benefits increased 9.2%. This dynamic pushed revenue per dollar of salary and benefit to $3.27 from $3.18 the year prior.


Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com
U.S. NCUA Western NCUA Southern NCUA Eastern
Share Draft Penetration 58.4% 60.0% 57.5% 57.6%
Auto Loan Penetration 21.3% 24.5% 22.5% 17.0%
Credit Card Penetration 17.6% 17.7% 14.2% 20.2%
1st Mortgage Penetration 2.4% 2.2% 2.5% 2.6%
Total Income Per $ Salaries and Benefits $3.27 $3.16 $3.21 $3.45


October 30, 2019

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