How Credit Union Leaders Can Grow Business With Generation Y As Clients and Employees

I have just returned from New York where I delivered research and insight on how credit union leaders can lead change in a fast paced, technological and multi-generational workplace.

I had the privilege of sharing from the contents of my book, at the Executive Series breakfast and then in the afternoon delivered a session in the thought leaders program on how credit union leaders can lead change to grow business.

I get pretty excited about the potential for credit unions in this new economy. You see never before has there been massive opportunities for credit unions to prosper than right now. Big banks struggle with turning their ships in these changing economic times, they are just now working to build communities with their clients.

In contrast Credit Unions have always been founded on ‘clients as members’ and that each member is part of a community.

Seth Godin the author of Tribes talks about the future in business success will rely on businesses ability to build tribes and attract and keep avid fans. Credit Unions have been working on this premise for years.

The challenge however for some credit union leaders is to harness the positive impact of technology and generation Y to drive business forward.

This is not the time for status quo or attitudes of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, rather we need leaders who are willing to see the reality of the new market and rather than resist it step up with excitement and creativity to build a new future for credit unions in North America.

Right now Generation Y is the second largest demographic after the Zoomers (I know Gen X it’s sad but true) and Generation Y stands to have over one trillion dollars of inherited assets by the year 2030.

From a member standpoint credit unions need to be forming their relationships with this market sooner than later. The needs of Gen Y clients are different than others, for instance they are not so interested in ownership. In the USA Today on Monday July 1st, 2013 on the front page was an article about Gen Y not interested in borrowing to buy a car or a house rather they are borrowing for education.

What does this mean for lending? It means looking at creative ways to meet the values of this market.

Generation Y are interested in investing in philanthropic products for those that have money to invest and they are interested in being given financial education through apps, texting and more.

Not only are Gen Y’s a tech savvy and relationship focused generation but in my opinion they are leading the changes in the workplace for a more egalitarian approach.

In order to meet Gen Y client needs credit unions need Gen Y employees to provide the ideas, the focus group content and the creativity to better meet the Gen Y market needs.

It’s not to say that Zoomers or Gen X can’t do this but in order to meet the needs of clients we don’t know we need to get to know those clients.

Progressive credit unions are harnessing the creativity of their Gen Y employees by rewarding them for ideas that generation more attraction of members. The increasing use of social media helps to attract Gen Y’s as does the use of video, gaming and texting.

Email marketing is not as effective with Gen Y as is personalized text message marketing.

As a credit union leader who may be reading this and are a Zoomer or a Gen X there is an opportunity to infuse the business strategy with a focus on engaging Gen Y as both members and as employees.

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