Ct., Fla. CUs home in on youth market

September 1, 2015

MIRAMAR, Fla., and HARTFORD, Conn. (9/1/15)--Two campaigns aimed at attracting the millennial market to credit unions are underway in Connecticut and Florida. And according to one article, credit unions are doing a better job at retaining and attracting the generation than traditional big banks.

Millennials are generally considered those born between 1980 and 2000.

The Credit Union League of Connecticut and Connecticut’s credit unions have launched an affinity/branding campaign to spread the word not only about credit unions’ credit and savings products but also touting their deep community roots and engagement (Hartford Aug. 31).

League President/CEO Jill Nowacki noted in the article that credit unions want to counteract an aging membership by finding “that sweet spot to bring in younger members.”  The campaign is largely online, via its new homepage, social media and through credit union newsletters and other internal information-sharing organs.

Credit unions in South Florida already have had success attracting millennials, according to the South Florida Business Journal (Aug. 28).

Tropical Financial CU, based in Miramar, has a new “Young and Free” youth spokesman, Alec McEuen, 19, who is starting a business as a racecar driver. The credit union is counting on McEuen's charisma, his entrepreneurial spirit and age to attract millennials. The credit union also has an online, shareable video campaign, the “League of Financial Goodness,” a promotion that rewards a local hero $2,500 in cash and $1,000 to donate. The millennial toolbox--Twitter, Instagram and Facebook--spreads the word.

Since it launched its Young and Free program last year, Tropical’s Generation Y members increased 4%, to reach 18.1% of total membership as of Dec. 31, 2014.

Pembroke Pines-based Power Financial CU retains millennial members by capitalizing on a natural fit between credit unions and millennials. Although credit unions find it hard to compete in terms of big marketing budgets, it uses social media and its website, plus word-of-mouth marketing. It also has quarterly membership meetings, where it listens to members’ needs.

Sunrise-based BrightStar CU conducts events such as a five-day springtime scavenger hunt to spread word about its business. Participants are over 18. The credit union offers prizes, and posts updates daily on Facebook.

The article also noted that big-bank blunders and their role in the Great Recession have generated mistrust of large institutions among millennials. 

Credit unions have at least one major advantage for capturing millennials as members: millennials are attracted to hyper-local, smaller businesses and to institutions where there is familiarity and trust, said Jacques Hart, president/CEO of Miami-based Roar Media, a digital marketing and public relations company, in the article.