Vox Populi: What Is Your CU Doing to Attract Younger Members?
We strive to provide all our members with the best possible value proposition. In order to better communicate this value proposition, we had to get creative about how younger members wanted to interact with us. Gen Y members are especially technology driven. So some of the promotions and items we use are Internet driven. For example, when we open a new Student Smart Checking Account, we give the new member a Big Blue wristband that doubles with a USB jump drive built into it. Students love the practicality of it and the cool look of the bracelet. They can not only use it for loading assignments or presentations, but it comes with our YouTube video loaded on it as well.
Also, we continue to advertise on Facebook as well as offering financial tips through the blog on our homepage that allows members to “like” this content or not. Keeping them connected is the key. Another aspect we focus on is member contact. To that end, we’ve started what we’ve dubbed the eBranch Department that only focuses on processing loans and opening accounts via the Internet. They also handle our live chat function where members can text and communicate online. This same department interacts with all members to get them set up with bill pay, text alerts, online banking and e-statements to name a few. Members, especially younger members, love the interaction on their level and through their preferred channel of communication.
Lastly, we promote lots of financial literacy initiatives. This includes a $200 scholarship monthly to any member attending school as well as Financial Literacy Days where members can come in and learn about topics from budgeting to credit scores. All of these initiatives and communication channels help us to promote our unique value proposition to younger members…on their terms.
Greg Baker Vice President, Sales/Marketing University of Kentucky FCU Lexington, Ky. Assets: $396 million
Our efforts with the schools are somewhat on hiatus as the schools are on summer break. We have a relationship with Saint Elizabeth Seaton School in Montgomery County and several of the D.C. public charter schools and we anticipate continuing those in the fall. Perhaps the most novel part of the strategy has been the relationship the CU has established with the Washington Area Bicycle Association, a leading recreational and commuter group that has members not only in the District of Columbia, where Signal has a community charter, but also in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.
We have had the deal with WABA for about two-and-one-half years. It hasn't brought us many new members, but it has the potential to help both organizations a lot by helping each group draw new members. We are working with WABA now to improve the partnership marketing.
Don Creel Senior Vice President Signal Financial FCU Washington, D.C. Assets: $300 million
PenFed had already begun making use of channels such as Facebook and Twitter, but we also discovered it needed to do more. We figured out that to some extent we have to really look at what we are doing on mobile. It became clear that many of our younger members had already gone beyond their computers for financial services. We are also looking at developing apps for the iPhone and Android mobile platforms.
Ben Scandlen Vice President of Marketing Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Alexandria, Va. Assets: $15 billion
We put together a focus group of young people aged 18 to 25 to help us revamp our website to make it more accessible and easier for members, especially young ones to use. We’ve also tried to be more interactive and use technology such as a system for giving members their balances via text messages. We haven’t started things such as depositing checks through smartphones, but it might make sense to do that because our ATMs don’t take deposits and we have members all over the state but only one branch. I’ve also got a built-in focus group on reaching out to young people, my 23-year old daughter. She’s studying for a master’s degree in merchandising and interned at the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union so she understands marketing and credit unions.
John Graham President/CEO Kentucky Employees CU Frankfort, Ky. Assets: $58 million
Youth is defined in several categories here at Northeast Family FCU. Being that the average age of a credit union member is 47, anything younger is a target, although we do go after the younger demographic more aggressively. We give away iTunes cards to savers from 12 to 20 years old. We give away gas cards to those people between 20 and 25 years of age. We design different contests for different groups, such as a website search for Credit Union Man for those under 13 years of age and a texting contest for kids between 13 and 20. The biggest thing we do for the under 10-year- old crowd is teach their parents how to provide for their kids. We offer the parents an incentive as well as the youth because the kids will often start banking where their parents banked. We want to encourage that. We also try to reach grandparents because they often set up accounts for their grandchildren.
Fred Brown Director of Marketing Northeast Family FCU Manchester, Conn. Assets: $67 million
We have a youth advisory board to help us reach out to potential younger members and we have a strong relationship with the Arlington County Public Schools. We routinely field calls from the schools for presentations on everything from budgeting to understanding credit and money management.
Karen Rosales Vice President of Marketing Arlington Community FCU Falls Church, Va. Assets: $188 million