Gen Y Back Talk: Practicing Patience
It seems credit unions are doing all they can in their quest to build younger membership by introducing new products and services. But research still points to an overall industry struggle in the Gen Y market.
Everyone in the industry wishes that the big, national numbers would reflect their efforts to attract Gen Y. They all want credit unions to be thought of as the go-to financial institutions for Gen Y. And they all want young members who would actively partner with their credit unions as they plan their financial futures. And they would love it if this happened, like, now.
When we work hard at something, only to find that our end goal is still miles away, we can feel defeated. For example, frustration is bound to set in if you have 60 pounds to lose, spend three weeks sweating at the gym and cutting your portions in half, then step on the scale to see you’ve only lost three pounds.
Setting and reaching small goals is attainable as you expand into the Gen Y market. A small achievement could be adding 10 new young member checking accounts in a month or hosting a successful financial education seminar for young members at one of your branches. But the big changes won’t happen overnight.
I’m an impatient person, but I’ve learned that most things in life take time. Getting acclimated to a new job can take months and moving on from a past relationship can take years. Feeling comfortable after moving to a new city usually happens in six months to a year, and in my opinion, it usually takes two to three years for a place to really feel like home.
For many credit unions, logistics are stalling the race toward the end goal of building Gen Y membership. Hiring new talent to launch Gen Y-focused marketing programs is costly and so is launching that robust, Gen Y-friendly app. Increasing costs in other departments, such as compliance, leave many credit unions without the resources to make young membership a priority.
When it comes to technology, not every credit union has the funds to back the most innovative solutions. But I see the importance of technology increasing, especially as older credit union staffers retire and are replaced with younger ones.
As you work toward making a dent in the Gen Y market, practice patience, even in the face of discouraging numbers that won’t budge. For now, focus on reaching the little milestones, whether that’s talking to potential young members at an event, introducing a new product for Gen Y or achieving gradual young account holder growth.