Why Technology Isn't Enough for Gen Y

It seems everywhere you look, media, industry leaders and vendors are pressuring credit unions into millennial-friendly products like mobile banking and social media campaigns to lure this tech-savvy generation as members. We've seen credit unions base entire marketing campaigns on highlighting their adoption of this technology.

While we believe there is a misconception among Millennials (and most of the remaining population, for that matter) that credit unions are not up on the latest technology, we don’t believe that touting digital convenience will win their business.

They expect it. It’s like McDonald’s advertising that they offer free ketchup for your french fries. Not a selling point, but for many fry lovers, absolutely necessary.

The adoption of mobile banking and responsive websites are no longer a unique selling proposition for you; it’s the cost of admission into the game.

What Do Millennials Want in a Bank?

This much sought-after generation is naturally tech-savvy, well informed, product-driven and more civic minded than older generations. With an estimated population of 86 million people  - 7% larger than baby-boomers – they are an age where they are thinking about key life (and key financial) moments: purchasing a home, buying a car, getting married.

  • They are looking for help in managing the money they have now, and are optimistic about earning more in the future.
  • They are aware of the immature reputation of their age group but want to be treated like an individual; more than just a member of a generation.
  • They have seen their parents’ retirement funds collapse, and are cautious about traditional savings advice.
  • They are looking for a partner who will provide them with tools to manage their money, and who will share knowledge on investing wisely.

How Can Credit Unions Cater to Millennials? 

Marketing to Millennials is all about meeting them where they are. This goes beyond offering mobile-friendly websites and social media interaction. It’s about respecting who they are as individuals, and caring about their personal situation.
 
Many Credit Unions have found that offering OOPS Refunds to 18-25 year-old members is a way to acknowledge that you understand that there are going to be mistakes when learning to manage accounts, and that younger members needs differ from those of more established account holders.
 
Offering financial management resources on your website or blog is another way to show Millennials that you have their best financial interest in mind. Some Credit Unions have even hosted Networking Workshops where younger members can learn about financial responsibility and saving for the future.

What’s the Payoff for Winning Millennial Members?

Credit unions and Millennials share many of the same values, making them good partners in furthering the Credit Union Movement.
 
In their survey “Unlocking the Millennial Mystery,” CO-OP Financial Services found that when welcomed and understood, this younger generation of credit union members are strong advocates for their financial institution compared to bank customers.
 
They reported a “net promoter score” (likely to recommend) of 38% among credit union members, with bank customers registering at only 16%.
 
Add in the fact that this financially optimistic generation spends an average of 8 hours a day online, building relationships, influencing connections and comparing products and services – then you have the basis for a strategy to build loyal members and advocates for your credit union brand.

With the steady adoption of new technology, the Credit Union industry is poised for growth -- and the Millennial generation is characteristically prepared with the brand loyalty and technology expertise to be the catalyst for that growth.