Credit Unions

How do you make Millennials flock to your Credit Union?

AvatarCloudCherry | July 10, 2017

Millennials have become the biggest living generation, surpassing Baby Boomers, according to the Pew Research Center. They also have massive buying power as, according to Accenture, there are approximately 80 million millennials just in the United States who spend around $600 billion per year, a figure which is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.

In other words, they represent a vital target audience that credit unions can’t afford to ignore. But it seems that a lot of Credit Unions don’t look the direction of millennials. At least, that’s what the average member age says, which is 47 in the United States, according to the World Council of Credit Unions, and mid-to-late 40s in most other countries. The problem is that many credit unions simply aren’t certain what millennials want.

If you find yourself in the same clueless boat, here are a few strategies that will help you attract more millennials.

1. Offer Mobile and Online Channels That Work

Millennials like things to be straightforward and convenient, which is why most of them prefer to do their banking online or via a mobile app. ATMs come in third, and branches come last in order of preference and frequency of use.

The 18-to-35 crowd wants to be able to open an account, apply for a loan, deposit a check, pay their bills, transfer money, receive notifications – do all this on the go, expending as little effort as possible – and this is possible through the power of digital. They want easy services that don’t require a lot of their time.

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Providing these platforms alone isn’t enough, however. They have to be user-friendly, and they have to work effortlessly in-sync with other offline channels. A convoluted system, or one that’s down more than it’s operational, will win you no favor with millennials.

2. Create Products for the Younger Crowd

A young adult goes through quite a few transitions at this point in life. They pursue higher education, make their first forays into the professional world, get married, buy homes and even have kids. The fact is that most people make their first significant financial commitment in their 20s, but they come up against a massive roadblock, namely that most products are tailored towards people with an already existing credit history.

A credit union that can offer more flexible financial products, thereby giving young millennials the opportunity to start building a credit history, will earn their gratitude but also gain their lifelong loyalty.

3. Adopt a Collaborative Attitude

Millennials like being able to collaborate with their credit union in developing new products and services. If they feel they are being listened to and their opinions matter, they feel a deep connection with any institution, or brand, that is willing to collaborate with them.

Millennials want to be involved, and this is a great opportunity for any credit union, due to a higher level of flexibility than mainstream banks.

You can be confident that millennials will flock to your credit union once the word gets around that you not only take their opinions to heart but also act on them. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of developing products and services that you know are tailored precisely to what your customers want.

4. Offer an Amazing Experience

Studies have repeatedly shown that experience matters more than product to millennials. Despite this, the financial industry is doing such a ‘great job’ that, according to a Brookings Institution research paper, 71% of millennials would prefer to go to the dentist than listen to banks.

A credit union that focuses on offering an excellent member experience, which includes making everything easy and straightforward, will attract millennials like moths to a flame.

For example, the San Francisco Fire Credit Union decided to stop focusing on what makes life easier for employees and focus on what makes life better and simpler for members. This included making the process of becoming a new member much easier by minimizing the number of forms that needed to be filled out, which are now handled by the staff.

The World Council of Credit Unions’ report also stated that the San Francisco Fire CU does business the millennial way by providing numerous banking channels, including mobile, online, drive-up, ATMs, call center and branches. They also listen to their members by doing regular surveys and acting on the insights they collect. The result? Millennials make up 38% of their overall membership, which is impressive.

5. Keep Educating Millennials

Despite being one of the most educated generations, the level of financial literacy among millennials is low. Furthermore, the Credit Union National Association conducted a study that revealed that 74% of non-members between the ages of 18 and 24 either don’t know anything about credit unions, or their knowledge is limited. On the other hand, millennials who are credit union members trust their financial institution as a source of advice.

This is a great opportunity for credit unions. Provide millennials with the education and guidance they need on social media and other online platforms to win their hearts and minds. Considering that millennials are in the early stages of their financial life and have little money to work with, credit unions can provide them with the advice they need without charging the exorbitant fees financial advisers do, and by doing so CUs can earn their trust and lifelong loyalty.

Millennials are slowly becoming the most powerful consumer generation in the world and credit unions are in a unique position to provide them with the extensive range of financial services they need while catering to their wants and desires. Millennial consumers are looking for ways to make their lives easier. And from the financial standpoint, if your Credit Union is able to assist them sincerely, there you have earned a member for a lifetime!