Now that I’ve been writing for Credit Union Times for more than a year, I consider myself decently well-versed in the credit union industry. But I remember being one of those young adults who was clueless about credit unions. Every time I passed by a credit union branch, I thought, “private, exclusive, mystery club.” Not, “welcoming, beneficial place to bank.”
Credit unions need to spread the word to Gen Y about who they are and why young people should come aboard. Here are five of the top messages credit unions should be communicating to Gen Y, whether they do it on their websites, on their social media pages, in a TV advertisements or while talking to potential members in person.
“We’re friendly.” No Gen Y member wants to endure an annoying customer service call. A couple weeks ago I tried to transfer my health insurance plan from Oregon to California, and I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to call five different numbers, each time getting someone on the other end who couldn’t answer my questions. Credit unions should tout their knowledgeable, friendly service representatives. They might put you on hold, but it’s likely they’ll remember your name.
“We’re specialized.” Credit unions cater to niche groups. For example, a Gen Y member might find that his or her employer has its own credit union. In that case, the credit union will have an understanding of the financial services that particular employee group needs. Make sure Gen Y knows that as a credit union member, they’re part of a club whose leaders take care of its members. Gen Y members love the idea of exclusivity.
“We’ll help you prepare.” Like Gen X, Gen Y is having a tough time saving for retirement. High unemployment, rising living costs, mounting student loan debt and a scarcity of jobs with pension plans all stand in the way of a secure financial future for Gen Y. Talk to Gen Y about your investment products because retirement is something they need to start thinking about.
“We’re clever.” Some credit unions might be considered old fashioned, but the industry as a whole isn’t dumb. Credit unions know that in order to survive, they must offer technology basics, such as online banking, mobile banking and slick-looking websites (and those who don’t know that probably won’t be around for much longer). Some are even thinking outside the box and offering advanced functionalities, such as remote-deposit capture and person to person payments. Those that lack the resources to back basic technology are finding ways to do it through collaboration. Let Gen Y know that you’re here to serve the tech-savvy.
“We’re social.” When’s the last time you heard of a big bank branch inviting young adults to an event where they could mingle with fellow customers? That’s what I thought. Credit unions are involved in their communities, and many of them organize activities for young members, such as financial education seminars, member appreciation barbecues and contests. They’re interested in getting to know members on a personal level. Gen Y loves to join groups that will open new doors for them socially and professionally. Let them know their credit union can be one of them.