Gen Y Grew Up. Did Your Credit Union?

The content of this article is opinion (and insight) from a member of Gen Y.

While time has passed with many conversations about reaching the youthful Gen Y strongly resembling an episode of Steve Erwin’s Crocodile Hunter, “[insert Australian accent] Here we are mates, down at the bayou looking for the elusive Gen Y breed. We hope to catch one today so we can learn about this young character and their unique and clever communication styles that have been escaping us for years…  ” a funny thing happened, we grew up.

As adults, Gen Y is the target demographic for first time homebuyer products (first time homebuyers range in age 29 – 32 depending on your trusted data source) and in two years every one of us will be of legal age to operate a motor vehicle. Gen Y was the first generation raised with the on demand, here-and-now benefits of technology that quickly evolved from a convenience to an expectation. We are the first generation to embrace and thrive from the concept that the technology in our hands today will make way for the faster and more efficient technology of tomorrow; we don’t “play” with technology we live by it. Communication strategies based on juvenile concepts such as “use their lingo in social media where they hang out” are going to fall short of meeting your goals because it will fall short of meeting our more realistic, sophisticated needs.

We have been raised by technology as natural innovators. Without second thought we innovate any ideas put in front of us and relish our ideas developing with the innovation of others. Companies lacking innovation in their services or delivery channels are belittled in definition as we share our experiences. Innovations in accessibility have created an arena in which organizations are no longer just compared to their peers. The appearance and functionality of online services, apps and real-time communications are compared to one another with no regard for the origin of the companies that are delivering it.

Remarketing is nearly an oxymoron to Gen Y because many of us have no idea it’s not just marketing. Although the paper form of remarketing has been around for decades the electronic form, once viewed as invasive and a privacy concern by many members of the X and Baby Boomer generations, is some of the most effective and welcome marketing to Gen Y. We find it helpful in our busy lives to be reminded through e-mail or display ads that we have items left in our online shopping carts and products we’re interested in are still available just one click away. If you’re not reaching out to us while we’re on social, local, news or shopping websites it appears you don’t want or value our business like your competitors do.

As a credit union your products and services are more relevant to Gen Y than ever. First time homebuyers need your mortgage products, in less than two years every member of Gen Y will be a target for an auto loan and at least three quarters of our generation are legally able to carry our own credit card. It’s the method in which you offer these products that determines if you’re an organization we want to do business with. We expect an innovative and efficient application process. If your online application isn’t approving us upon completion, or at minimum guaranteeing a quick response, we will look elsewhere for an institution that will meet the here-and-now, on demand expectation technology has ingrained in us.

Direct communication to our mobile devices should be higher on your priority list than communicating with us via social media (Gen X and the Baby Boomers are adopters of the same devices and are looking for this communication too). We expect our credit union to communicate with us the way other companies do, not just the way other financial institutions do. A weather app can notify us of storm warnings, retailers notify us when our favorite item goes on sale and we expect our credit union to notify us, at minimum, when our account balance is low.

Gen Y has been groomed to expect information and communications to be at our fingertips. If your current strategy is trying to reach us with games and “cool” lingo in social media here’s the big secret about Gen Y explained: it’s innovations in technology, processes and communications that we are looking for. Our financial needs are the same as anybody else’s, we just use modern delivery channels to get information and complete transactions. See, we’re not so elusive after all!

Penne D. VanderBush

Penne D. VanderBush

With over 10 years of experience in financial industry marketing, and former VP of Marketing for the largest state-chartered credit union in Vermont, Penne joined the FI GROW Solutions team ... Web: Details