CUNA Tech/Ops Council Conference

Dykstra: CUs Must Find Ways to Remain Relevant

Target generation Y, she advises, and embrace mobile banking.

September 25, 2013

Diana Dykstra

The world is changing quickly, and credit unions must continuously look for ways to remain relevant to current and potential members, California & Nevada Credit Union League CEO Diana Dykstra told attendees of the combined conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council Tuesday in Hollywood, Calif.

“Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on the way things were and not enough time thinking about what's coming,” she says. “Baby boomers helped credit unions grow, but they're deleveraging now and they're not going to become net borrowers again. They’re done.

“Today’s net borrowers are age 18 to 34, but that age group is under-represented among credit union members. We have to do something about that.”

Dykstra urges credit unions to target generation Y, the 78 million-strong generation of young adults. “They represent your future borrowers, but 71% of Gen Y have no idea what a credit union is, and more than half of the unbanked belong to Gen Y. This generation represents a tremendous opportunity for credit unions, but a lot of younger consumers just don't want relationships with traditional financial institutions.”

She also cites the growing importance of mobile banking, which “represents the greatest opportunity for credit unions and the greatest threat. “You must offer your members seamless access across all delivery channels. Your members won't tolerate disjointed delivery channels.

“Branch traffic declined for the first time in 2012,” Dykstra continues. “About 80% of consumers now visit a branch only once per quarter. And their top three reasons for visiting a branch are problem-resolution, executing a process that’s too complex to execute online, and to physically sign a document.”