Reach Out to Tomorrow’s Members

About 19 million nonmembers under age 18 live in CU members’ households.

February 9, 2011

About two-thirds of adult credit union members with children haven’t set up accounts for those children, according to the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2009-2010 National Member Survey Report.

That amounts to about 19 million nonmembers under age 18 living in members’ households.

This is a tremendous opportunity to add new members—by starting with members’ own children.

You have ample opportunities to open new accounts for adult members’ children. Make a good impression on young members early to ensure their future loyalty and your credit union’s growth (“Serving young members: Seven tips")

Serving Young Members: Seven Tips

  1. Be attentive. Acknowledge families and children as soon as possible when they enter a branch.
  2. Be courteous. As you acknowledge children’s presence, address them by name if you know it. A friendly welcome is the first step to a positive service experience.
  3. Invite and answer questions. Reward children who’ve waited in line with attention and involvement.
  4. Look for a teachable moment. Be aware when children are receptive and share a bit of information. For example, explain that ATMs take their money and keep it safe, but also give it back when they need it.
  5. Realize when the teachable moment is over. Children have short attention spans.
  6. Keep it simple. A few short lessons are more beneficial than lengthy drawn-out ones.
  7. Ask “open-ended” questions that require more than “yes or no” responses.

Sources: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and CUNA’s “Thrive by Five” fact sheet, “Tips for Teaching Preschoolers About Money”

FrontLine Newsletter

Included in this membership effort are the approximately 11.5 million people under age 18 who already are members. You’ll want these young members to maintain their accounts as they enter their prime borrowing years of 25 to 44.

Initiate positive, memorable interactions with parents and children—regardless of whether they have credit union accounts. As these children become adults, they’ll have pleasant memories about credit unions and the credit union people who helped them.

When you build stronger relationships with children, you also build stronger relationships with adult members, according to “Youth Financial Literacy: Preparing Youth for Financial Responsibility,” a book published by CUNA and the National Youth Involvement Board.

Encourage parents to:

  • Attend youth credit union functions, such as money management seminars and workshops, with their children. When they see their children’s enthusiasm and natural curiosity, the feelings will transfer. Adult members will be more excited about and interested in encouraging their children to save and build money management skills.
  • Participate in youth savings clubs and programs, which encourage youth involvement.

When you help children and their parents with saving and money management skills, you encourage lifelong relationships and greater member loyalty. And you help build a strong foundation for financial literacy.

This article originally appeared in Credit Union Frontline newsletter.