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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – What you don’t know about Generation X’ers could hurt your credit union’s growth. “The biggest myth is that there are more baby boomers than Generation X’ers,” said Neighborhood Credit Union Vice President of Marketing Mark Arnold. “Generation X’ers consist of anyone born between 1961 and 1981, which is basically about 30% of the population. Baby boomers only represent about 28%. So for credit unions to survive they have got to reach Generation X or they will miss a huge piece of the puzzle.” Arnold says that it is also a mistake to dismiss X’ers as just coffee drinking, nose ring wearing kids – they actually have a healthy income of greater than $36,000 a year and they are very much self-starters who work hard. According to Arnold, keys to reaching this group include: using technology, adding value to products because it is all about convenience for this group; and positioning the credit union as the information source. “This group needs constant educating and if they have a financial problem or question they should think of the credit union first as a place to find solutions,” said Arnold. About 18 months ago FISI Madison Financial began looking at Generation X and developed a marketing program to target this emerging affluent group. “Given the economy and stock market this is really the first time this group has seen trouble and this is sort of a wake up call for them,” said Dan Tarantin, CEO /president of FISI Madison Financial. “And because this group is financially astute they are looking to establish relationships with a financial institution and learn more about just what they are getting out of it. The smart financial institution will be there to address that need and that set the stage for the program.” According to Tarantin, since this group is open to getting financial products from any number of different sources and competition is so fierce, the program focuses on adding more value to existing relationships. This could include things ranging from travel and recreation benefits and home care and repair, to wellness benefits and privacy guard. The emerging affluent program is wrapped with checking accounts and credit unions can customize the program to include benefits specific to their members’ needs. Some of the “relationship banking advantages” can include concierge service; up to 50% savings on golf course access; home care and repair savings booklet containing over 50 ways to save on appliance repair, carpet cleaning, pest control, plumbing services and free “how-to” project guides; reduced rates on a variety of activities, sports adventure and amusement activities ranging from skiing/snowboarding to laser tag and family theme parks; 50% savings on lodging at three and four-star hotels world wide; and an international ski directory. The Wellness Extras, a health services savings program, will allow account holders to have access to preferred pricing on a variety of health services and products including vision, dental, hearing and chiropractic care, 24/7 mail order pharmacy, nurse hotline and a medical information ID tag. According to Arnold, X’ers are looking for value so if they are able to associate their credit union account to convenient perks then that just adds to the credit union’s appeal. FISI works with the credit union to design the fulfillment packages and marketing/promotional materials. “We offer regional exclusivity,” said FISI Creative/Marketing Services Manager Terri Johnson. “We cater to the credit union and have 30-40 different campaign looks for clients to choose from and we can even customize a particular campaign-it all depends on what the credit union wants to do.” The in-house staff designing the collateral are mostly Generation X’ers themselves and Johnson says they try to give it a bright, vibrant retail store feel that reflects the diversity of the credit union’s membership. Program rollout can range from 60-90 days and as part of the program, the campaign includes brochures, posters, banners, point-of-sale stands, statement stuffers and newspaper and radio ads. With a membership consisting of upper-mobile health professionals, Wisconsin-based Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union opted to try the emerging affluent package and is set to launch its program in October. [email protected]

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