Credit Union (Shared) Branches Can Facilitate Gen Y Dreams

By Sarah Bang and Craig Beach

More so than most, young people might just pick a financial institution based on its ability to enable their dreams.

A famous case is the story of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who sought a loan for their startup company, Apple. Banks weren’t interested in lending money to the two young entrepreneurs, Wozniak told attendees of CO-OP Financial Services’ 2008 THINK Conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Yet, a local credit union (he didn’t say which one!) provided them with a loan for a television set that helped produce the first computer monitor prototype – and launch one of the world’s largest corporations.

One thing credit unions that want to reach members of Gen Y (born between the early ’80s to the early 2000s) can do is make sure their branch presence is appropriate.

Interestingly, “young adults view physical branches just as importantly as the Baby Boomers,”says Bryan Sims, CEO/founder of Brass Media,  in this slideshow , “but they are twice as likely to open the account online. So what does that mean? It means they want to know there’s somebody there they can talk to if they have a problem or there’s a major transaction like buying a house. Once they get those accounts, they’re all going to take care of it online.”

But, Sims suggests, CUs may need those branches to initiate and maintain the relationship. He likens it to Genius Bar tech support stations at some Apple retail stores, where people go in to talk with a guru for help solving a problem and – while they’re there – get to try out (and purchase if they want) cool new Apple stuff.

continue reading »