DENVER (6/15/15)--The Denver Business Journal took a look at credit unions and their aspiration to be millennials’ primary financial institutions just weeks before global credit union advocates arrive in Denver for America's Credit Union Conference and World Credit Union Conference.
"A critical segment of the population for credit unions to reach is, of course, millennials," Scott Earl, Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA) president/CEO, told the Journal (June 12). "Our research tells us that within two years, they will wield more purchasing power than any other generation."
Millennials are expected to surpass baby boomers as the largest living generational group in the United States.
"It is vitally important for credit unions to first reach those potential members, and then communicate a relevant message that will make them consider a credit union as their financial institution of choice," Earl said.
CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions will come together for the collaborative July 12-15 conference in Denver, with nearly 3,000 attendees from 61 countries.
For those interested in capturing the millennial market, breakout sessions include technology, recruitment, wealth management and creating a message that will resonate with this demographic.
A theme that is already striking a chord is that credit unions are not-for-profit cooperative financial institutions where profits are returned to the members. Millennials “are attracted to locally based financial institutions,” Jim Johnson, senior marketing manager at Bellco CU, told the Journal. Between 2011 and 2014, the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based credit union saw membership of 18- to -34-year-olds increase to 69,000 from 41,300.
Bellco Senior Vice President John Rivera told the Journal that millennials also respond to the credit union’s community involvement in causes they care about. “They see us out there participating in things," he said.
To boost credit union awareness during the conference, CUNA will sponsor a local Denver gourmet food truck event. Civic Center EATs will be produced by the nonprofit Civic Center Conservancy, and staff from CUNA and MWCUA will be on hand to explain the credit union difference to passers-by.