Whether we want to admit it, teens are intimidated by all financial institutions whether it is a bank or a credit Union. But why?
To put it simply, we feel intimidated by those we think are superior to us, and in a teenager’s mind credit unions rank superior. We are not cognitively mature enough to understand that credit unions are here to help us. Regardless of our financial situation, we need credit unions to help get us on track, save toward our futures and become responsible and stable members. Credit unions make us shake in our boots. To grasp the credit union’s cold door handle and stride into a busy lobby with confidence is no easy feat.
It is the conception, activities and work credit unions execute that immediately frighten teens. A teller’s friendly smile can ease the pain, but the idea of “no” hammering into our ears after applying for a $7,000 dollar car loan makes us want to run for the hills. Opening an account without the step-by-step guidance of our parents is almost impossible. It seems as though we need our mother’s hand to walk us into a CU and sit with us side by side in order to get noticed.
And who wants that? Not any independent teen I know. We expect to be shut down and shut out.
Teenagers are begging CU’s to smash and bury the misconception. We want a smile and welcoming gesture the second we step into the roped off line to make a deposit.
We want to be taken seriously as young adults, not stereo-typed as part-time fast food employees still in high school or as broke college students living off of ramen.
The truth is young members are every credit union’s future. Breaking the intimidation factor is as easy as educating your youth, portraying a quality open-door policy, and answering any questions we may have with honesty and attentiveness. Teens want to feel important, noticed, confident, and far from intimidated.
As a 20-year-old marketing intern, I fully understand both worlds. I was that teenager intimidated by the name on the building and everything it stood for. Now, I understand that credit unions are far from intimidating, but do your young members know the same?
Youth Marketing Intern
Credit Union Association of New Mexico