It’s easy for credit unions to make assumptions about Gen Y. For example, they’re all techies in search of the latest gadget. The only way to grab their attention through advertising is with bells and whistles. And forget seeing them inside a branch–they only bank at ATMs or on mobile phones.
But in a recent conversation I had with John Levy, executive vice president for Integrated Media Management, a New Jersey-based provider of document output management and automation technology for credit unions and banks, I learned that offering choices–from in-branch to mobile services–is key for CUs looking to attract Gen Y members.
Just as a Gen Y member might order the same dish off the menu every time he visits a favorite restaurant, he may also stick to a comfort zone when it comes to banking activities. Maybe that’s handing a check to the teller or maybe it’s using robust mobile banking services. But Gen Y likes to be in the driver’s seat, and they want the freedom to change their minds.
“Gen Y is a group that wants to do business the way they like,” Levy said. “They don’t like being told what to do and they like to have choices.”
So, what should CUs consider when building a menu of services? One must-have is the ability to access accounts anytime, anywhere, Levy said. A mobile banking application, remote-deposit capture capabilities and a reliable online banking system all play into fulfilling the need for 24/7 accessibility. Speed and efficiency are important factors to take into account when implementing any type of service because regardless of a member’s choice of banking method, it has to be fast and reliable.
Levy, whose company offers paperless technology solutions, mentioned the appeal of eco-friendly services to Gen Y and suggests CUs take the paperless route whenever possible. However, he added that CUs are more inclined to implement paperless technology for return on investment purposes, not because they want to be green.
Another quality that Gen Y seeks in a financial institution is trustworthiness. As they grow older, they’ll need the same financial products used by their parents and grandparents and no doubt want those products to come from an institution they can rely on. “Gen Y has grown up,” Levy said. “As they get jobs and become more productive, they’re looking to take out loans and such.”
Do I agree that Gen Y has to have it their way? Sure. For the past week, I’ve been in San Francisco working on my freelance assignments from coffee shops and friends’ apartments, simply because I can. Do I represent Gen Y as a whole? Not at all. Two blocks away from me, I’ll bet there’s a guy my age who is perfectly happy in a structured, 9 to 5 job. Gen Y is coming of age in a world full of many choices, and in order to enjoy a limitless journey, they need flexibility.