The year 2011 was one of growth and change for credit unions. Many CUs announced positive news, such as asset growth, improved loan performance and large bonus dividend payouts. The Bank Transfer Day movement increased membership numbers for CUs, and many CU newcomers are in their 20s and 30s. As 2012 begins, setting goals to boost your connection with Gen Y will benefit your credit union.
Understand the Gen Y mind. A recent article I read on MSN’s careers site, “Gen Y’s impact in the workplace,” raised some interesting points on how Gen Y members approach their work lives. They may be job hoppers, but they demonstrate a strong work ethic in each job. They’re technology dependent and communicate openly, even when it comes to once taboo topics, such as salaries. They expect to receive recognition for their good work.
Recruit Gen Y employees. Speaking of workplaces, what better way to integrate the Gen Y mind into your credit union than to have them work for you? The oldest Gen Y members are in their early 30s, equipped with experience and likely candidates for business management roles. Hiring Gen Y members could breathe new life into your credit union. A young social media manager, for example, could help bring your credit union the attention it needs from untapped Gen Y consumers.
Offer communication options. It’s a given that Gen Y members want to conduct banking activities straight from a smartphone app. But they also want the ability to pick up the phone and talk to someone from their financial institution if they have a question. Or if they’re looking into a major financial product, such as a new loan, they might want the comfort of sitting down with an adviser in a branch to discuss options.
Think ahead of the curve. Access to advanced technology is a necessity for Gen Y. To stay competitive and draw young consumers away from big banks, credit unions must not only tout their uniqueness but match big banks when it comes to technology. A smartphone app, a user-friendly online banking site and paperless statements are good places to start but thinking about what’s next can increase your attractiveness.
Lend a helping hand. Despite a slowly improving job market, many Gen Y members are still struggling with financial instability. Many lack the experience and knowledge they need to get on track and would embrace guidance from their financial institutions. Offerings such as online personal financial management tool access, programs that encourage saving and overdraft protection services can show Gen Y that you don’t expect perfection when it comes to money management and care about helping them make improvements.