Generation Why?

Credit unions can help millennials through financial services and employment opportunities. But first they must catch the interest of this notoriously tough-to-crack generation.

The millennial generation, otherwise known as Gen Y, continues to mature, entering the workforce or becoming financially independent for the first time.

That presents challenge and opportunity to the credit union industry: these individuals need jobs and/or financial services and education. Credit unions are uniquely positioned to offer both. But how to get through to this notoriously tough to crack generation? This week on we attempt to find out.

It’s a competitive market, says Ashley Harris, vice president of corporate communications at Generations Federal Credit Union’s, of San Antonio. In Bexar County, of which San Antonio is the county seat, 52% of adults belong to a credit union compared to 19% in Dallas and 21% in Houston.

People can go anywhere, Harris says. We need to give them a reason to come to us.

The credit union has had active Facebook and Twitter accounts since 2009. But it was in 2013, after the addition of a new chief marketing officer and content manager that efforts were revved up. Now, Generations’ award-winning social media presence is one of its chief differentiators. In 2014, it was selected as a finalist for Best Use of Twitter in PR Daily’s 2014 Social Media Awards, finishing second to JC Penny.

In 3 Social Media Tips To Attract Millennials, by Callahan writer Erik Payne, the credit union shares how it uses its award-winning social media platforms to boost member engagement and awareness among 20-somethings.

Mark Richter knows about internships. They’re a big way his small credit union First United Credit Union can identify talent and add to the organizational capacity at his 12-employee, 4,800-member institution.

The credit union recently worked with local colleges to hire a couple of interns for the marketing department and now is seeking to fill accounting and bilingual services spots.

To see how the Michigan credit union works with college millennials and veteran CUSO staff alike, read A Tale Of Two Internships by Callahan senior writerMarc Rapport.

Attracting and retaining younger members is an area of focus for many credit unions. Popular strategies range from social media outreach to in-person service campaigns, product tweaking to technology development, internships to college partnerships. One credit union even has a vice president of unbanking that oversees Gen Y initiatives.

Michigan-based HarborLight Credit Union and Maryland’s Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union are looking to advisory boards to help them incorporate younger viewpoints into their strategy and operations.

To see how the advisory roles are helping the two credit unions engage millennial members, read A Strategy To Adopt A Younger Point Of View by Callahan contributor Sharon Simpson.

Ronaldo Hardy joined Shell Geismar FCU four years ago at the age of 27. The new CEO brought in a young executive team and pushed the credit union in an innovative direction by embracing new technologies and reimagining the credit union’s two branches in the style of Apple Stores complete with massage chairs and treat bars in the lobby.

Along the way, Hardy has experienced both the benefits and challenges of leading a financial cooperative so early in his career while managing a young executive team and working with a mixed-generation board of directors. With just 3,075 members and nine employees, SGFCU struggles to compete for talent with larger financial organizations. Recently, a couple of the credit union’s young senior executives left the organization for other opportunities, pushing Hardy to rebuild the executive team once again. Only this time he brought a bit more seasoning into the mix as SGFCU prepares to take the next steps in its long-term growth strategy.

In Moving Forward With Millennial Leadership by Callahan contributor Ted Goldwyn, Hardy shares his thoughts on what works and doesn’t work with integrating millennials as senior leaders into a forward-thinking credit union.

Happy Reading!

January 11, 2016

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