Young professionals are becoming a key demographic driving the bottom line of a credit union.
CEO Bill Carhart of the $50 million Oswego County Federal Credit Union in New York is a big advocate of using this resource.
"I am a big believer that a large part of our success has been due to two very simple components. First, of the 20 employees we have, 14 of them are under the age of 30," Carhart said. "They are young, energetic, and completely dedicated to delivering upon our service statement of ‘providing our members a brighter financial future by fulfilling dreams and earning trust.’ They are able to offer great insights into what younger adults are looking for and have been a big reason we have moved our average member age from 48 to 44."
With about 80 million millennials looking for financial institutions and jobs, it just makes sense to Carhart to hire and listen to the advice of his young staff.
"Working at our credit union as a young professional is an ideal setting," said Aimee Johnson, vice president of lending for Oswego CFCU. "I sometimes come in with crazy ideas and he doesn’t turn me away but he listens. It really makes a better work environment. I think that the biggest advantage of being at our credit union is really allowing us younger folk to feel like a bigger part of the credit union."
Oswego supports over 50 community events throughout the calendar year, which Carhart says is attractive to the volunteer side of his young employees.
"We have staff members volunteer at at least one community event per year and management sits on a volunteer board within their communities. We as an organization feel very strongly about giving back both financially but also with our time."
More and more young professionals are leading the way in credit unions across the U.S and Canada. Drawing them in is the not-for-profit status and volunteer opportunities, but they aren’t quite ready to kick their elders to the curb.
"Young people are eager to fight for the future of credit unions, but know that there are limited years left to soak up the wisdom from veterans of the system," said Theresa Hilinski, community manager of the Cooperative Trust. "There is an insatiable hunger for positive change among young people in credit unions that is fed by many amazing CEOs and upper management that are willing to have their ears and eyes open."