Targeting Generation Y Membership Growth for Credit Unions – Part 1

Based on the overwhelming need for credit unions to reach the critical target market of young adults age 21-34, this is a two-part series on the Robert C. Davis and Associates Resources blog.

Part One.

Notre Dame Students at Credit UnionsCredit unions have a unique opportunity with that Millennial age group, known as Generation Y. These consumers, between the ages of 21 and 34 years old, are in a phase of life with the most radical changes in finances. Those in their early 20s are more likely to be in college, getting their first car and first independent credit card. By the mid 20s, most will have started in an entry-level position of their first career or vocation. Those in their late 20s and early 30s may be moving to a more lucrative position and new city, getting married, having children and buying their first home.

Despite the wide variety of life experiences and challenges facing this generation, each one is a potential member. Many of the Gen Y group are inexperienced in financial management and planning and may not even be aware that credit unions are an option available to them. For credit unions, reaching out to this demographic can be a big challenge, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Consider that increasing members at ages 20 through 30, could lead to a lifetime of membership financial decisions made through a credit union, from starting a college fund to refinancing a vacation home.

To help credit unions reach this target market, we’ve rounded up the following suggestions on how to drive Millennial membership.

Gen Y-targeted Credit Union Programs

The Echo Boomers, as some reference Generation Y, are a particular group of young individuals with very specific needs. Credit unions should identify these needs and produce products and services that meet them. For example, offers on auto loans and first credit cards would click with someone around the age of 25. For someone in their early 20s, who may be considering a second or third degree, a student loan with low interest would appeal to them.

Beyond establishing the right services and offers, it’s important to remember that many in the Gen Y group are first-time borrowers and brand new members. Creating a positive and learning experience for them is a great way to build a lifetime of loyalty to your credit union.

Consider This Scenario:

Jim, age 27, has been working at his first job as an IT specialist for two years. Jim knows if he has a Masters degree, he can get a raise. A local university offers night-time courses for the degree he needs. He has built enough in his savings account to afford tuition for one year of courses, but needs a loan to help with the second and third year. After applying and getting accepted into the graduate program, Jim walks into his bank, a local branch of a national brand. On the spot, the bank denies his application for a student loan of $6,000, saying his credit isn’t good enough.

SEFCU Attracts Millennial Generation

Frustrated, Jim asks his friends what he should do. One of them recommends a credit union. So Jim calls the credit union and asks to speak with a member representative. The member representative asks Jim the right questions to determine his needs for a low interest student loan and notes his concern that he doesn’t have much in terms of credit history.

The member representative explains to Jim that to qualify for a loan, he must first become a member. She then explains how simple the membership process is, especially since he’s a local – simply start an account with at least $20. With a brand new member account and loan that’s been pre-approved, Jim is excited to start his new classes and share his positive experience at a credit union with his peers.

Many young adults just like Jim are looking for alternatives to the major national banks. Yet they may be inexperienced in financial planning. When a young adult calls a member service center, it is of the utmost importance that member representatives know how to adequately respond to their questions and give them the right advice for making big financial decisions. If you’re credit union doesn’t have this system in place, Robert C. Davis and Associates can help train your branch’s core representatives to reach out to this demographic.