If credit unions want to remain in business, they need to embrace the future. But, who are the future? The millennials, for sure.
Born in the ‘80s and the ‘90s, the so-called generation of millennials comprise about a third of the global population, according to a study conducted by Viacom, a mass media company.
Meanwhile, according to a study commissioned by the World Council of Credit Unions, the average age of financial credit unions in the U.S. is 47. Americans in their 40s and older are the bread and butter of financial credit unions. While they make a great contribution toward keeping credit unions and other financial institutions afloat, they sadly are an aging population. Hence, financial credit unions need to attract new members, particularly millennials, to ensure longevity in the financial industry.
But, how can financial credit unions see a growth in their membership? Here are member generation ideas for credit unions:
1) Engage your young members on social media
They say that if you want to find honey, you need to follow the bees. The millennials are the bees and their membership is the honey. When you follow the bees, they will lead you to their beehive. Social media is the millennials’ beehive.
There exists a variety of social media platforms. To name some, there are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. These draw millions of active users daily. Many brands and companies have also started using different social media platforms to interact and engage with their consumers and to attract new ones.
To engage millennials, financial credit unions need to understand what makes the members of this generation tick. Plain and uninspiring contents will be lost in a sea of contents posted every day by various organizations. Financial credit unions need to understand that they cannot employ the same techniques to grab the attention of their current members who belong to a different generation.
Millennials have a hunger for their voice to be heard and participate in something bigger than life. One way to attract this young generation is to hear out their ideas and to use these to communicate to other millennials. Instead of hiring tried and tested experts to guest write blog posts on your financial credit union’s website, hire a millennial with a background in finance. They know best what they want and chances are what they want are the same things that their generation wants as well.
2) Offer mobile and online services
When presented with two choices between a financial institution that offers online banking and a smartphone app and another that offers neither of the two services, chances are a millennial will pick the first option.
Online services and mobile banking provide much convenience that the young generation will surely appreciate. These make their lives easier. No longer will they have to run to a different part of town just so they can see financial records. Instead, they can just whip out their smartphones and open your financial credit union’s app, or visit your website on their laptops to make transactions. They can use this time to accomplish something they are passionate about and will see your financial credit union as an institution that helps them achieve their goals because you are not taking their time away from them.
3) Adapt payment services
It is no longer a surprise that a huge fraction of the millennial generation is not connected to financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions. Instead, they turn to Google Wallet or PayPal.
These payment systems do not require its members to fill out endless forms before they can start using their services. Everything is done online.
When financial credit unions
offer e-payment services, young people are more likely to stick with one service instead of a number of them just so their needs can be met. The trick here is for financial credit unions to tailor the services they offer to the needs of the young generation in order to gain their membership.
4) Provide services and products that fit their lifestyles
Developing a good credit is necessary for gaining access to certain financial services and products. Because members of the millennial generation are only starting out, they make little to no money. This makes establishing a good credit history and earning a good credit score a tough job and can have huge effects in their lives when they finally move into adulthood.
When financial credit unions decide to care about this generation of young people with minimal credit history by designing and providing services and products that fit their lifestyle, they open an opportunity to attract potential lifelong members.
A few examples of such services and products are student VISA cards or Mastercards that have computer and car loans with low-interest rates or discounts based on their GPA. These cars also have zero annual fees and a credit limit which will help them maintain a solid credit history.
5) Be a moral example
This generation of millennials is quite famous for their thirst to become a part of something big. It has become a passion for many young people to make the world a better place. They deserve credit because, to many of them, these are not just ideas. They live their lives based on their ideologies. So, it does not come as a surprise that the institutions and brands they choose to support mirror their views and uphold ethical values.
This is a good opportunity for financial credit unions to not only do good and give back to the community but also to attract young people to becoming their members. Promising your potential millennial members that you will make them good money by using the money for a good cause, certain financial credit unions then saw a 14 percent growth over a three-year period.
6) Implement incentive programs for millennial kids
People who were born at the turn of the century are only a couple of years away from becoming young adults themselves. Much like the millennials, they have zero credit history. Reaching out to these young kids through their parents is another great way to lead financial credit union’s membership growth toward a positive direction.
A certain financial credit union in New York had the brilliant idea of setting up a kid’s club where students are promised $1.50 when they get a grade higher than 90 percent. This has led to a 70 percent membership growth among people who are 17 years old and below, and a 90 percent growth among young adults and people in their 20s.
Another example is allowing millennials who have little or no credit history to secure loans or apply for credit cards. This incentive program has a significantly lower number of requirements compared to standard programs.
7) Offer financial counseling services
People say that kids should be taught how to deal with money at a young age. Sadly, not many millennials were exposed to those lessons and are, therefore, far from being financially fit.
When financial credit unions offer complementary counseling services to their young members with little to no history credit, they can attract millennials who would otherwise hesitate because they lack financial management knowledge. This extra service also builds trust between financial credit unions and new members.
Try out these ideas, and do not be surprised when you see new millennials who cannot wait to be part of your financial credit union.