REACHING YOUNGER MEMBERS
IS KEY TO YOUR FUTURE
Where do you want your credit union to be in
5, 10, or even 15 years? What will it take to
When you ask these questions of your credit
union’s board and management team, you
may find the answers are startling.
A recent survey of 5,000 credit union members
found a close correlation between members’ age
and satisfaction. The survey found that older
members tend to value a personal touch and
stability—two qualities that are traditional
strengths of credit unions. But younger members
are more concerned with convenience and choice.
A huge potential market is underserved by
credit unions: younger consumers. Why is this
important? Because the key to a successful
credit union is robust lending. So it follows that
to grow lending in the future, credit unions
need to focus now on attracting younger
members and investing in new technology.
Younger Members Expect
So how can you tailor services to meet young
members’ needs? Two words: technology
Target Younger Borrowers
Here are a few facts you need to know:
; The average age of credit union members is
47, up from 40 just a few years ago.
; Yet the peak borrowing ages are between
25 and 44. This means the average member
is already past the prime borrowing years.
To survive in the future, credit unions must
attract more members who are younger
than the peak borrowers.
; Members between ages 18 and 24 make up
just 9 percent of credit union membership.
;Yet nearly 33 percent of the U.S.
population is under age 20.
At a minimum, young people expect services
like mobile banking and online bill-paying. They expect to open accounts
and get approved for loans online. They expect immediate service 24/7. They
expect to make deposits using their smart phones, and to use their digital
wallets to buy movie tickets.
If you don’t offer what young people expect, they’re going to take their
business elsewhere. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you use all the
tools at your disposal to win over the next generation of consumers.
Ask yourself (and, perhaps, a young member of your staff): “How user-friendly
is my credit union’s website? Does our website reflect a modern, forward-looking institution? Will it attract tech-savvy web surfers?”And what about
your marketing? Is your credit union still placing most of its ads in newspapers?
Does your credit union have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube?
Young, tech-savvy consumers are getting information delivered to them in
new ways. Instead of reading their local paper or watching evening news
coverage of what the media choose to deliver, young people tend to use their
apps. They select whom they want to get their news from and what
organizations to follow in their own personalized way.
These statistics raise more questions:
;Do young consumers understand what
credit unions are?
; Do they know that credit unions can help
secure their future?
; Once young members join a credit union,
are their needs being met?
If your credit union isn’t connecting to these potential members on their own
turf, if you aren’t speaking to them in their own language, and if you don’t
exist in their fast-paced spheres of influence, then how can you expect to
turn them into members?
Creating and fostering a sense of community is the traditional purview of
credit unions. The Internet, social media, and mobile technology are the tools
that are redefining “community” for a new generation.
If you take your credit union’s traditional stability and personal service and
marry it with today’s cutting-edge technology, then you’ll have unlimited
potential for a more prosperous tomorrow. With effective outreach to
America’s youth, you can strengthen your credit union, and, in so doing,
meet the needs of the next generation of Americans.