At nearly 80 million strong, millennials are a gold mine when it comes to purchasing power and potential business for credit unions.
The only problem? A majority of millennials can’t define what a credit union is, says Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer for The Center for Generational Kinetics.
“When we look at membership data, if the average age of a member continues to go up, that’s bad news,” Dorsey said during a keynote address Sunday at the CUNA Lending Council Conference in Las Vegas. “And the lending space is only going to get more competitive and transparent. There will be winners and losers, and one way to win is to reach the millennials.”
Dorsey disputes the perception millennials are broke, noting 25% of all new millionaires in the U.S. are millennials. They have relationships with an average of three financial institutions, but they’re not loyal. So whichever financial institution can win a millennial’s trust and financial business has the opportunity to “win big,” Dorsey says.
To capture millennials’ trust and win their business, Dorsey says credit unions have to better understand this group. He offers five ways credit unions can solve the millennial growth challenge:
1. Give them a VIP welcome. When a millennial comes to your credit union for financial assistance, don’t have another staff member bring that person back to your office. Go out to the lobby, greet them, and while taking them back to your office, introduce them to at least two other credit union employees. This builds trust in you, your credit union, and the credit union industry, and lessens the millennials’ anxiety level.
2. Ditch the sales awards. A framed sales award is the worst decoration for your office, Dorsey says. It conveys a message to not trust you because you’re only out to sell a product. Instead, think of showcasing customer-based awards, such as one for meeting a high level of member satisfaction or loyalty.
3. Acknowledge questions. When millennials walk into a credit union, they have the lowest level of confidence and highest level of anxiety of any generation you serve. If they don’t ask you questions, that’s a sure sign they’re not going to do their financial business with you, Dorsey says. Offer millennials a list of questions as a way to start a conversation, which will encourage them to ask their own questions.
4. Show them the results. Millennials are visual learners and outcome-driven. If you're presenting a multi-step process, they want to know the end result. Start by showing them what the result will be and then work backward through the steps you must take to achieve that result.
5. Explain the difference. Play up how credit unions are different from banks. Emphasize credit unions are local institutions that aren't driven by shareholders demanding profits.
Read more CUNA News coverage of the CUNA Lending Council Conference.