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In recent years, a key target demographic (and buzzword, conversation starter and general point of confusion) for the financial industry has been the elusive millennial. How do we connect with them? What is the best platform on which to engage them in a meaningful way? Where do their motivations lie? How can we empower them to be successful in their careers? I think it’s safe to say that the exploratory period has been exhausting – literally and figuratively – and the answer to all of these questions really boils down to the realization that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to bridging the generation gap.

For the fatigued among us (myself included), the good news is that this seemingly perpetual, one-topic conversation has begun to broaden as the next wave of consumers, Generation Z, enters adulthood. By 2020 – two years from now – Gen Z will make up one-third of the U.S. population. This generation presents new opportunities – and challenges – for credit unions, as these consumers are in many ways dissimilar to the millennials who preceded them.

In order to best serve potential Gen Z members, we must first begin by trying to understand them – a feat surely easier said than done. For the sake of brevity, let’s start with the 30,000-foot view:

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