For what feels like ages now, credit union leaders have been told to embrace change – that in order to stay relevant and competitive, they must be willing to adapt to societal and technological evolutions. Basically, to avoid becoming that grumpy old guy in a rocking chair lamenting about how much better things were in “his day.”

Hopping on board with the latest technology and social media platforms is a common move associated with embracing change. As awkward as it may be, older generations such as baby boomers who follow the digital communications lead of Gen Zers are more likely to connect successfully with young consumers – those whom credit unions must win over if they want to survive into the future.

However, there is more to consider than just age when assessing the needs of consumers who are setting new standards for how Americans live, work, communicate and manage money. The racial/ethnic makeup of the population is changing, with some groups growing larger and new ones emerging. Traditionally, consumer research projects have divided subjects into the four broad categories of white, Black, Hispanic and Asian, ignoring the narrower identities within those groups as well as the fact that many consumers identify as multiracial. It’s time for that to change, and a new report from CUNA Mutual Group was developed with the very goal of initiating that change in mind.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.

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