The Credit Union (Member) Of The Future

This week, CreditUnions.com features articles detailing credit union strategies used to attract and retain young adult members.

Beth is 32 to 47 years old. There’s a 60% chance she works full time and has a household income that exceeds $75,000 a year. There’s an 80% chance she owns her own home and a 46% chance she still has youngsters living there. And her credit union might be advertising to her on the craft website Etsy.

Beth is an avatar, of course, but she’s very real to Chrome Federal Credit Union ($131.50M, Washington, PA), where she’s one of the Chrome personas that represent the targets of the products, services, and deep-dive marketing tools the credit union is using to re-invent itself and re-shape its future.

A Cleveland marketing firm created those personas to help the suburban Pittsburgh credit union take its rebranding from Washington Community FCU to Chrome to a new level. That only scratches the surface of what’s happened there, though.

To learn more about Chrome’s reinvention, read How Chrome FCU Is Forging A Future In A Steel Belt Town by Callahan senior writer Marc Rapport.

One of the most difficult aspects for many credit unions in connecting with and serving today’s young membership is that there are so many different misconceptions and generalizations obscuring who these individuals are, what they want, and what type of business they can generate for their respective financial institutions.

Too often, outreach to this demographic is treated as an afterthought or a roll of the dice. But in actuality, Millennials also commonly referred to as Gen Y and subsequent generations represent the inevitable future of the credit union industry and an investment whose interest is guaranteed to compound with time as others diminish.

To learn more about this and how to better connect with a set of members whose future is still to be determined, read Generation TBD by Callahan vice president of new business and president of Credit Union Student Choice Scott Patterson.

In the cooperative financial services industry, few names are as synonymous with youth outreach as Listerhill Credit Union ($672.7M, Sheffield, AL).

Focusing primarily on students at the University of North Alabama, the credit union has made a name with clever guerilla marketing (leaving Listerhill-branded pens in lecture halls), giveaways (free car anyone?), and even a half-branch, half-hip-campus-hangout called The Hill.

But as the credit union’s second quarter 2015 annual membership growth 4.8% and annual loan growth 7.1% show, attention-grabbing campaigns work best when they are based on a marketing and product design philosophy that generates real business from members right where they are in life.

In The House That Youth Built, Kristen Mashburn and Chris Anderson, Listerhill’s respective vice president of marketing and marketing director, share strategies they use to build wallet share among young adults.

Generation Y is reaching adulthood, and Generation Z is not far behind. According to a 2012 Filene report, the average age of a credit union member nationally is 47 years old. To grow younger, some credit unions have tailored products and services to better fit the needs of this generation; others have gone directly to the source by partnering with local colleges and universities.

Since 2008, Ent Federal Credit Union ($4.7B, Colorado Springs, CO) has been the official financial institution of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), a campus in the University of Colorado system with more than 11,000 students.

To learn more about this partnership and how the credit union aims to attract the approximately 66% of UCCS graduates who go on to live in the Colorado Springs area to the credit union read College-Bound Credit Union by Callahan writer Erik Payne.

Finally, check out this week’s featured infographic, What Every Credit Union Needs To Know About Young Adults. Callahan analyst Janet Lee asks the questions: How do young people communicate? What brands do they like? And, how can employers attract them?

Happy Reading.

August 17, 2015

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