It’s big, it’s wrinkly, and it’s screaming for higher certificate rates.

Taming the Member Aging Monster

It’s big, it’s wrinkly, and it’s screaming for higher certificate rates. And before you know it, one dark and stormy night you’ll wake up and realize that the average age of your members is creeping toward the 50s. That’s right, it’s the Member Aging Monster, and even though it’s slow, it’s one of your credit union’s biggest long-range strategic challenges.

To tame this wheezing beast, you’ll need to learn how to earn the trust of students and young adults, and turn the next generation entering adulthood into a powerful pipeline for membership growth.

These aren’t your Grandfather’s kids

Young adults these days are truly different in some important ways financial marketers need to understand. If you’re Gen X or older make sure you ponder the very different financial world Gen Y, Gen Z, and their younger siblings are facing. For starters, they’re facing ludicrous educational and health care costs, along with widespread wage stagnation.

What today’s young adults need and want is a little different than previous generations. They want safety and security, not rebellion. And they need tools to help them build financial security and independence. They crave advice they can trust.They need assistance when they make mistakes, not punishment. They need respect for their contributions and skills, and most of all they need you to pay attention.

Get ready for a different product mix

Because of the above, many younger people will need to wait longer before buying a car or a home. They save more when they can, and are more reluctant to take on debt. You’ll need to be faster and more flexible when making loans, or lose out to online lenders who can say “yes” right away.

For example, you might be able to lock in mortgages years ahead of time with a robust first-time home buyer’s program that helps young families start saving up for a down payment and feeds them information and resources to succeed as they get closer to their goals.

Give them a CU to believe in

There’s one thing that hasn’t changed about young adults: they’re idealistic and optimistic. And member-owned, not-for-profit credit unions never go out of style; they’re the perfect fit for people seeking something different than the faceless corporate banks.

Make sure you explain the difference – and that they can actually tell the difference in your products and policies. What do you have for electric car loans and solar home loans? What causes are you supporting? What’s unique and interesting about your community, and what are you doing to be part of it? Reach their hearts and minds, and you’ll share in their lives.

Turning kids into adult members takes a lot more than funny animals

Kids in high school and younger need to learn a somewhat different set of financial skills than their parents or grandparents did. And their parents need tools to oversee and manage their kids’ accounts.

Make sure your youth programs are ready to give kids and their parents the tools and education they need, with real accounts (not kiddie pretend stuff) they can use for their daily lives, with features that grow with them. And sign them up as early as possible; a teen checking account is a natural transition into a student account when they head off to college, then a first-time buyer’s car loan as they begin their career.

Start the pipeline early

Pay some serious attention to kids and young adults and understand how they’re different. Have a plan for turning them into profitable adult members. The Member Aging Monster will look  a lot more cuddly when you bring some much-needed balance to your member mix.



What are the Marketing Monsters that go”bump” in the night at your credit union?

Every CU has their own unique set of Monsters, but the good news is that each monster can turn into a huge advantage if you know how to tame itiDiz can help.

Brian Wringer

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