Can Bank Transfer Day really help the industry reach that elusive goal of tapping the youth market in a significant way?
A Texas credit union, the $566 million Velocity Credit Union in Austin, said Friday it has proof it’s happening already.
“We’ve noted a marked increase in a younger demographic opening checking accounts with us,” said Carol Cain, Velocity’s senior vice president of marketing. “While previously we had only 37% of our checking account members under 40, we’ve seen now that a full 88% of new members are under 40.”
And half of those are under 30, Cain added. She noted that Velocity has been active in the Bank Transfer Day movement with media ads and a special 30-second YouTube video that refers to the Occupy protest.
The message on the musical video is: “You Don’t Have to Occupy Wall Street to Send a Message to Banks. Just Stop Sending Them Your Money” and switch to Velocity. The video was created by an Austin agency, The Swizzle Collective, and began running Oct. 16. Cain stressed that “while we hold our more established members in very high regard, it’s nice to see the credit union alternative catching on with the younger population.”
Overall, she said, 73,000-member Velocity has seen a 91% jump in new checking accounts over the same time last year “and our new accounts opened online are up 174%.”
Velocity staffers, she said, have kept a close eye on the Austin Occupy movement at a downtown plaza which at times has been included in network television roundups of the most active tent-city operations.
The Occupy participants have meetings every night, Cain said, and Velocity employees are doing “recon” on developments. Recon, she explained stands for “reconnaissance.” Cain stressed that Velocity “does not endorse” their stands “but we’re not against them—we’re just completely apolitical.”
Occupy Austin, she said, “has been very active in recommending credit unions as an alternative, and are passing out flyers at the Bank Transfer Day event planned on Saturday, where they expect anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 attendees. All credit unions seem to be benefitting from these activities.”
Cain noted also that “the message about moving your money from a big bank to a local alternative like Velocity is nothing new for us. We’ve been out there for over two years with this message.
Velocity brought the Austin-area headlines like “Bank-Free Banking,” “De-Bank” and “Bank Schmank” starting in early 2009, Cain said.