There are nearly 250,000 financial advisors in the U.S., with that figure set to rise 30% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in step with rising consumer life expectancies and overall increased demand for personal financial planning.


As financial advisors get in line to serve that growing group of clients, the decision around where to locate a practice becomes the lynchpin to a successful career. While some opt to strike out on their own, other advisors opt to join large wirehouses. However, there's another option – reaching clients through a credit union – that can be both satisfying and strategic at once.


Here are three main reasons why.

  1. Mission orientation. Credit unions are by definition mission-oriented, based on membership sharing a common bond with a community or affinity group, such as teachers or military service members. The notion of the common bond dates back to the earliest days of credit unions, where co-ops were created so communities could make deposits and secure loans. The credit union "people helping people" philosophy resonates with the ethos of millennials that research shows are values-driven. Millennials have a heightened interest in philanthropy and engagement with causes that empower them to change the world in a sustainable way. They are also on the verge of inheriting wealth. With $30 trillion in wealth due to change hands from baby boomers to millennials in coming years, credit union advisors are uniquely well-positioned for this shift in wealth.Serving a local community can be a deeply rewarding experience for advisors. The mission-oriented work makes a difference, and with happy clients (more on that later) come happy advisors.

  2. Satisfied and loyal client bases. Several respected business rankings have put credit unions on top for trust and service, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Harris Poll and Temkin Group. Nearly two-thirds of credit union households say they would prefer to invest with their credit union over any other type of firm – which is crucial to advisors, since cultivating and maintaining a loyal and engaged client base has always been the name of the game.

  3. Rising popularity. Credit unions have undergone an explosion of growth in recent years, doubling in membership globally since 2000 and reaching $1 trillion in deposits for the first time last year. In fact, the pace of growth accelerated during the first five months of 2016, with a record 2.2 million new memberships in credit unions nationwide. While much of this popularity can be attributed to better rates on share deposits and loans, and high member satisfaction, credit unions also benefit from consumers disillusioned by multinational financial institutions since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis – and advisors can reap the rewards of that disillusionment.

Originally published in ThinkAdvisor. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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