Minnesota Credit Unions Align with the Values of Gen Y

ST. PAUL, MN (August 27, 2013) — Like many forward-thinking industries, Minnesota credit unions are targeting “Generation Y” consumers. Made up of young adults between the ages of 18 and 35, Gen Y consumers are at a stage when many major life events occur, including going to college, buying a new car, or getting a first mortgage. For that reason, credit unions across the state are working to cultivate relationships with young adults to position themselves a BFF – best financial friend!

As part of their mission, credit unions have always helped young adults build their financial future. Many credit unions are continuing to develop products and services specifically tailored to Gen Y consumers’ wants and needs.

Gen Y expects to build personal relationships with service providers that share their values, and Minnesota credit unions are using creative ways to engage with Gen Y and learn more about what they want in a financial partner.

  • Financial One Credit Union, Columbia Heights, received an award in NerdWallet’s Gen Y Credit Union Contest for its “What’s Your Number?” credit score education initiative. This Gen Y-focused campaign includes business cards with a quick response (QR) code that, when scanned, leads to an interactive website with credit information and a blog featuring financial success stories and advice. The website offers an engaging way to get young people interested in what can sometimes be perceived as a boring topic.

“The best way to find out what engages Gen Y is to ask them,” said Mandy Meisner, Director of Community Outreach for Financial One. “The ‘What’s Your Number’ campaign is a great example of responding to what they’ve said they want.”

  • NorthRidge Community Credit Union (NRCCU), Hoyt Lakes, combines financial education and practical work experience for Gen Y. For more than two decades, NRCCU has recruited interns entering their senior year in high school to work as tellers. The interns receive training on NRCCU’s products and services so they can learn to ask questions about what other types of products members may need. These conversations help deepen the relationship between NRCCU and its members. The internship also includes a referral program that incents young employees to recruit their new members to join the credit union, which requires them to have an in-depth understanding of the credit union advantage. The referral program also provides them with the chance to have substantive conversations with their peers about saving and the importance of proper financial management.

“The interns are encouraged to share the NRCCU mission of ‘people helping people’ by spreading the word to friends and family about the benefits of belonging to a credit union,” said Sharon Nelson, NRCCU Assistant Vice President & Operations Manager.

  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union¸ St. Paul, hires three summer interns each year who review the credit union’s products with a special focus on how best to position the institution to their Gen Y peers. One Affinity Plus intern recently began a cross-country journey with the Millennial Train Project where he will engage in conversations with Gen Y members in multiple cities to measure their financial literacy.

“The Millennial Train is a great way to gather information from Gen Y about how they manage their finances while they’re in school and after graduation,” said Tasha Dahl, Director of Business Performance at Affinity Plus.

By focusing on what Gen Y wants and needs, Minnesota credit unions are paving the way to a strong financial future – for their members and themselves.  The Minnesota Credit Union Network is an organization representing the state’s 133 not-for-profit cooperative credit unions serving more than 1.5 million member-owners in Minnesota. For more information, visit

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