Credit union members’ lives are changing, their needs are changing, and their financial and insurance requirements are changing.
Broad shifts in lifestyle, financial and social priorities—along with increasing digital engagement—affect members’ financial and investment decisions.
As credit union directors, you must keep these changes in mind as you look to the future of your credit union and the movement.
Workplace and career realities
Today’s American workers have experienced corporate restructuring, consolidation, downsizing, and layoffs in recent years, leading many to work for themselves. In 2015, one-third of the U.S. workforce worked independently as a professional or freelancer. By 2020, this number could surpass 40%.
While self-employment has a lot of advantages, it doesn’t come without risk. Many independent workers worry about rising health-care costs, saving for retirement, and unpredictable income. This might explain why 77% of hardworking Americans report they wouldn’t be able to come up with $5,000 for an unexpected need.
The new American family
Family dynamics in the U.S. have changed dramatically in the past few years. A record number of Americans now live in multigenerational households, with many families caring for both children and aging parents.
According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, 65% of the elderly rely exclusively on family and friends to provide them with day-to-day assistance. And single-parent homes have increased significantly over time. One-third of U.S. children now live with only one parent, up from just 9% in 1960.
In addition, more than 8.5 million Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). These individuals can face unique financial needs, such as the expenses related to starting a family through surrogacy or adoption.
A recent survey of 1,800 LGBT persons showed 62% had concerns about being denied a home mortgage for sexual orientation, not financial reasons.
Gen Z emerges
From toddlers to college students, Gen Z is emerging as a powerful force. This demographic is comprised of the 82 million people born after 1996, putting Gen Z nearly on par with millennials (83.1 million) and ahead of baby boomers (76 million).
Gen Z already possesses $44 billion in purchasing power. Generally speaking, these kids and young adults are tech-savvy, independent, mature, and ready to solve problems. They live in a 24/7 “smartphone culture” and live in constant contact with each another.
Media and market research companies have labeled Gen Zers as screen addicts with limited attention spans—eight seconds, which is one second less than a goldfish’s attention span. But a recent Fast Company article paints that finding in an entirely different light. Gen Zers explain that time span as a filter. You’re either interesting in eight seconds or less, or you’re not.
Focus on members and families
These changes present credit unions an opportunity to deepen member relationships by focusing on serving members and their families—regardless of definition,
age, or career choice—and building an unmatched member experience for generations to come.
This article first appeared in Credit Union Directors newsletter, which provides strategic insights for policy makers. Subscribe now to the print edition or PDF version.