You have to reach their HEARTS AND MINDS to share their lives.

Give young members a CU to believe in

Young members are on everyone’s mind; they’re essential for every credit union’s long-term survival, yet the average age of CU members creeps up every year. But how do you bring in these mysterious millennials, and their even more mysterious younger siblings?

A snarky blog and a shiny online banking app are only part of the story – you have to reach their hearts and minds to share their lives. And you won’t do it by doing the same things you’re doing right now – it takes a commitment to change.

Tell the CU story loud and proud

Younger people these days are noticeably more aware and willing to be involved in social and political issues. At the same time, they’re at more of an economic disadvantage than the two or three preceding generations. They are incredibly receptive to the credit union story, and eager for a real difference they can see and use to make their lives better.

Share Their Values

Are your branches carbon-neutral? Do you offer special loan terms for electric vehicles and solar panels? Are you practicing wage equality? Do you offer equivalent benefits to same-sex couples? Are you deeply involved in local causes? Younger people need to see that you authentically share and live their values and passions.

Commit to addressing their challenges

Take an honest look at your policies and products. If you’re only willing to lend or issue cards at rock-bottom rates to people with high incomes and established credit scores, then you’ve abandoned younger members. Wage stagnation has hit younger people hard – what are some ways you can help them meet the challenges with innovative products, education they can trust, and access to advice?

Embrace new opportunities

Insurance companies are finally offering products for Lyft and Uber drivers, as well as home insurance that allows renting out or sharing a home or spare bedroom for extra income. Figure out how to take advantage of these opportunities in lending; for example, there’s a ripe market for car loans tailored to people using their cars for ride-sharing or package delivery. How can you project and account for that income? How does the equation change if it’s an electric vehicle?


Brian Wringer

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