How credit unions can win the millennial market

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) describes itself as “the authority on consumer financial health, leading a network of committed financial services innovators to build better consumer products and practices.” I don’t really know what that means.

What I do know is that the organization does a lot of research and consulting — and idea generation — in the financial services arena, especially as it applies to the underserved. And I do know that the organization is comprised of a lot of really smart, great people who are committed to making a difference in people’s lives.

CFSI agreed to let me analyze the results of a consumer survey it recently conducted to focus specifically on credit union members, and how the financial health — and more generally, the financial lives — of credit union members differed from other consumers, and what that all meant to credit unions.

After digging into the data, it was clear to me that the real story to tell was about Millennials, not the general population. Cornerstone Advisors (where I work) and CFSI have jointly published a report titled Competing on Financial Health: How Credit Unions Can Win the Gen Y Market.

If your first reaction is either “Ugh, not another study about Millennials,” or “Hey, wait a second, Shevlin… weren’t you the guy who called for a moratorium on Gen Y research?” I feel your pain. Suck it up, and let’s move on.

Key Findings

1) Gen Y credit union adoption lags older generations. Just 27% of the nearly 79.5 million Millennials in the US are credit union members, in contrast to nearly half of adults over the age of 36. When asked why they aren’t members, many Millennials admitted to not knowing much about credit unions. Considering older generations probably didn’t know much about credit unions when they were younger, and adoption rates are higher for those older consumers, you might conclude that low membership rates among Millennials will fix itself over time. You’re probably right. If you (and your credit union) are willing to wait that long for that to happen, no need to read the new report. Your call.

continue reading »

More News