Attracting the next generation of members requires interacting on their terms and on their turf.
Credit unions that engage the young adults who make up Generation Y share a willingness to provide valuable financial information in unconventional ways.
Equally important, they take fresh approaches to designing and delivering financial services that appeal to young, tech-savvy members.
Engage Gen Y
Credit unions spend too much time reading about Gen Yers and too little time actually engaging with them to learn about their culture, needs, motivations, and behaviors, says Brent Dixon, Gen Y adviser to the Filene Research Institute and founder of The Cooperative Trust, a credit union youth network.
Dixon suggests forming an advisory group to gather information about young members’ psychographics: their attitudes, lifestyles, and values.
• CUs spend too much time reading about Gen Y and too little time actually engaging with this group.
• CUs must develop self-service technologies—online and mobile banking, remote deposit capture, online account opening—to reach Gen Y.
• Board focus: Consider forming an advisory group to gather information about young members’ attitudes, lifestyles, and values.
Credit unions must also develop products that overcome the barriers created by Gen Yers’ scant credit experience and respond to their preference for using technology to accomplish financial tasks. Dixon recalls contacting a credit union because it offered a compelling loan product, only to be discouraged by a complex loan application and payments made by snail mail.
“Developing the self-service technologies—robust online and mobile banking, remote deposit capture, online account opening—and product and service efficiencies young people expect can be a costly, complicated venture,” Dixon says. “But it’s necessary to attract younger members.”
Efforts to engage Gen Y should extend to the credit union’s internal culture to tap young employees’ ideas and opinions and offer mentorship and training opportunities, Dixon says.
Next: 'Young & Free'
As millennials emerge in the workplace, CU leaders modify their management approach and expectations.