Connect with millennial homebuyers

Quick communication, video, and trust are keys to building these relationships.

October 30, 2018

There are the stories of millennials being saddled with large student loans, living in their parents’ basements, and having difficulty finding jobs.

But things are looking up for this generation now.

“We had a little bit of difficulty coming out of college but now we’re doing very well,” Kristin Messerli, founder of Cultural Outreach, said during a keynote address at the CUNA Lending Council Conference Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif. “And we’re buying houses.”

One in three home purchases today are made by millennials, Messerli says.

So what’s the best way to reach out to millennial homebuyers, form a relationship, and be their lender of choice? First, Messerli says you need to remember a few key values that millennials have. They are:

  • Fast communication. Millennials were raised in the age of instant information at the touch of their fingertips. They expect quick responses.
  • Relationship and trust. Millennials prefer authenticity over a sales pitch and seek to form relationships with lenders and real estate agents. “We want you to be a guide, to be in our inner circle,” she says. “The professional and personal lines are sometimes a little blurry, but we want to develop a relationship. That will drive long-term business.”
  • Expertise and guidance. Millennials want advice, but they have a tendency to question everything and fact check to verify and confirm information. But if the end result is a positive experience, it will pay off, for them and your credit union. “We will be your marketers, your advocates,” she says, “when we understand that you have our backs.”
  • Use of technology. Millennials are in constant reach of their smartphones, with 87% within arm’s reach of their device at all times, Messerli says.
  • Mission-driven. Millennials want to be involved with organizations that have a social impact or do good in their communities.

So how can credit unions market themselves to millennial homebuyers? Messerli says to consider these four strategies:

  1. Multichannel approach. Identify which channels your credit union wants to focus on and then use them. This can be social media, video, or text messaging. “This is the way we connect with each other,” Messerli says. “It’s all about building relationships.”
  2. Video. Create a video strategy that allows millennials to get to know you and your credit union. Use video for short testimonials or answering questions. “It creates a lasting impression,” Messerli says.
  3. Instant messaging. When communicating via instant message, whether it’s a text message, a Facebook Messenger note, or some other form, make sure you respond quickly.
  4. Celebrate. When the closing day comes, make sure to celebrate the new homebuyer. Take a photo and share it on social media, send a congratulatory text message, or even give a small gift. “This is a huge moment,” Messerli says. “It’s the culmination of everything.”

Click here for more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNAJennifer@CUMagazine@CUNACouncils, and by using the #LendingCouncil hashtag. Learn more about the CUNA Lending Council, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, at