How to Attract and Keep Younger Members

Adults age 18 to 34 who are likely to recommend CUs use the words ‘service’ and ‘easy.’

August 13, 2013

Young adults want an institution that provides high-quality service and support, acts in their best interests, and makes conducting business easy—in that order.

The good news is that credit unions score well on all three counts, according to the Filene Research Institute report, “Next Generation Needs: Examining Credit Union Loyalty among Young Adults.”

The report considers the difference between what attracts members and what keeps members, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

The report splits adult members into three age groups: 18- to 34-year-olds, 35- to 54-year-olds, and 55+.

For comparison, the research looks at average NPS among those age ranges at banks and credit unions. Credit unions win handily.

The report also compares high-performing credit unions with low performers to tease out why some credit unions receive such high marks, and how all credit unions can use those insights.

CU Implications

While young adults’ NPS of credit unions is the lowest of the three demographic groups—53% compared to a respective 55% and 63% among older members—it’s still far better than banks’ NPS: 12% compared to 22% in each of the older groups.

Analysis of young adults’ feedback reveals three priorities:

1. Service and respect. Members feel that high-quality service and support are important, and agree their credit unions do a good job of providing it.

2. Ease and convenience. Younger members don’t want to expend much effort in their dealings with credit unions. The keyword “easy” showed up twice as often among top-performing credit unions as among bottom-performing credit unions.

3. Financial assistance. The most common request regarding financial capability is how to establish solid credit. Some of the most passionate comments came from members who built their credit and finally got a credit union loan for their dream car or first home.

Respondents seeking ease of use doing business value online and electronic services. Top-performing credit unions scored well on reliability and usability, with systems that are easy to use and work as advertised.

But even members at these credit unions have wish lists. They want mobile check deposit, external account transfers, online account opening, instant withdrawal of bill payments, check image and pending transaction viewing, and budgeting tools.

Also, how 18- to 34-year-olds conduct business is important for credit unions seeking to gain their loyalty. Understanding channel preferences allows planners to allocate resources accordingly.

The survey looked at three main channels—ATM, branch, and online—used by members of all ages who had at least a checking account.

Members age 18 to 34 are more likely than others to use the online and ATM channels more often, which is not surprising. What is surprising is that these young adult members still seem to use the branch as much as other members.

(Via CUNA E-Scan)