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  • John McNamara

How Do We Attract Younger Credit Union Members?

In Ireland the number of millennials (population between 22 to 34-year olds) is 915,000 which represents 19% of the total Pollution (Total Population 2018 4.8million). Millennials represent a great opportunity as well as a challenge. The future growth of the Credit Union sector depends on how relevant the Credit Union is to this sector, as our current members get older each year.



So how do we attract and retain these young members?


As the father of two daughters in their early 20’s I asked them a few simple questions about their financial choices and then cross-referenced this feedback with expert analysis and the outcomes were surprisingly similar.


Here are the questions I asked and the answers I got;

Why do you bank with your current bank? This was the bank which was located on the university campus.


Do you use online banking? Yes, but I still like to talk to a bank official sometimes.


Would you switch banks? I heard it is easier now but I’m not sure if I could trust the salaries department in my job getting it right and I can’t afford messing with my finances. My current bank hasn’t got Apple pay so I would think of moving.


Would you switch your banking to your Credit Union? Maybe but they would have to have a debit card. I see the credit union as a good place to put my savings.


What services would like to see in your Credit Union? Mobile app where you could track your savings easily.


*When I examined what the expert research says it was very interesting to compare their findings. Following the analysis of two different surveys, research shows that young adults are highly motivated by convenience and the general feeling that it is easy to access their financial institution. When choosing a financial institution, convenience matters.


Young adults are often viewed as the frequent consumers of online banking and electronic bill payments. Supporting this view, they found convenience and service are important to young adults, easy and frictionless. Perhaps a more surprising result is that a convenient location matters a great deal to young adults.


Too often, young adults’ adoption of electronic banking technology is interpreted as their abandonment of bricks- and-mortar branch offices. However, they found that young adults consider a convenient location one of the most important criteria for financial institution selection. Like my daughters above, sometimes you need to talk to a real person.


Research also shows that young adults score low on institute loyalty however habits or inertia keep them doing what they’ve been doing. The idea of introducing a loyalty programme should be considered.


Service is another important principle when choosing a financial organisation. It is also notable that efficient service matters more for young adults.


If your company isn’t employing social media effectively, millennials may think you’re irrelevant. Allowing your millennial employees to help you with your social media strategy is a good place to start, after all, they are the experts.


Conclusion


Younger adult members are the same the world over. Young adults are not the only generation invested in technology, but they tend to be the first to adopt new technologies and use them the most. To communicate with millennials, we need to speak to them in their own language.


Every day a Credit Union delays implementing an effective young adult strategy is another day the competition gains in cementing a relationship with your member.


This research suggests that investment in ease-of-use products and services, offering a mix of online and in-branch touch points to Connect with people on their terms are becoming the essential components for Credit Unions to remain relevant and sustainable.


Whilst new members are important, retaining your current young membership is equally as important as millennials score low on institutional loyalty.


Easy frictionless products are taken as a given, if credit union don’t offer them millennials will look elsewhere.



Reference material;


*Jinkook Lee: Attracting Young Adults: What Do We Know About Their Use of Financial Institutions and Payment Behaviours?- https://filene.org/learn-something/reports/attracting-young-adults

Lydia Abbott -Blog - https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2013/12/8-millennials-traits-you-should-know-about-before-you-hire-them

Taylor Nelms: Keeping Pace with Expectations: The Quest to Attract Younger Credit Union Members - https://filene.org/learn-something/reports/keeping-pace-with-expectations-the-quest-to-attract-younger-credit-union-members

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