Jason Dorsey at CSCU 2017

Dorsey: Attract millennials with messaging, digital services

Be clear about how CUs differ from banks—and do digital right, too.

April 5, 2017

If you want to appeal to millennials, don’t emulate the Rotary Club, generational research expert Jason Dorsey told attendees at CSCU’s 2017 Solutions Conference Wednesday in Orlando.

Dorsey uses his local Rotary Club as an example of how not to stay relevant.

When he was young, the service club’s meetings were always packed, but now they’re lucky to fill a small room, he says.

Likewise, credit unions risk aging poorly if they don’t get a handle on messaging to younger generations.

“Millennials don’t know what ‘credit union’ means,” he says, adding that some think it is a labor union or something similar.

If credit unions can break through with their messaging, they stand to do very well, he says, because younger generations are “perfectly-aligned” with credit unions on values.

But credit unions need to figure out what it means to be a digital business, too.

“If we don’t win in digital, we are not going to have a credit union,” Dorsey says. That’s because banking is mobile for younger generations.

“Opening new branches is not exciting to us,” he says.

Dorsey advises credit union leaders to do two things to improve their websites and attract young consumers:

  1. Explain, in terms a fifth-grader would understand, that you are a not-for-profit organization. Many people can’t understand how you’re different from a bank, he says.
  2. Talk about your local connection and community roots. Younger generations highly prefer that in an organization.

“We have to see how young people look at us," Dorsey notes. Understand what they know about credit unions and what they value in an organization.

Read more coverage of the conference from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNACraig.