A conversation with an employee who just became a new father reminded DyAnn Longseth of the challenges in attracting deeply engaged Generation Y members.
Longseth, senior vice president of marketing at $2.4 billion asset Veridian Credit Union in Waterloo, Iowa, asked the employee if he had thought about setting up a children’s savings account or a college education fund.
“No,” he said. “I’m just worried about paying for diapers and day care.”
Creating loyal Gen Y members (also known as Millennials) can be tough. Younger members of the demographic set (typically 18- to 23-year-olds) are focused on their education or finding jobs in a challenging economy. And the older group (generally 24- to 35-year-olds) is overwhelmed by new responsibilities and lifestyle changes.
Nevertheless, Veridian successfully recruited these groups during a two-year campaign. In 2012, it increased Gen Y membership by 6% over 2011, and pushed retention to more than 90% for the first time.
“We have the products and services, and I think we have the culture here that’s attractive to Millennials, both members and employees,” Longseth says. “They see a sincerity; an openness. Diversity and inclusiveness are very important to us.”
That culture includes ongoing financial literacy through the Advice for Life initiative, which evaluates young members’ overall financial health.
The credit union also started a Facebook advisory group, and it sponsors a studenthosted lecture series at the University of Northern Iowa and holds community outreach efforts at targeted events.
Veridian offers Gen Y-friendly products such as a mobile app, remote deposit capture, and a credit builder card with $250 immediately available.
The credit union also considers payment history on cell phone or utility bills, for example, instead of relying solely on a credit score when making credit decisions.
Not to be overlooked is the credit union’s “reboarding” program, which bolsters retention. Periodic analysis prompts staff to contact members who display a few common “at-risk” traits: no active checking, no qualifying share or loan, a loan that will mature within a year, or a share certificate that matures within a month.