Rethink your marketing for the digital age—Embedded finance is key

While credit unions have long been known for their ‘people helping people’ mindset and strong dedication to member service, their ethos is often overlooked by the younger generations. Despite offering unmatched service, competitive rates and intuitive offers, only 14% of Americans ages 25-34 are members of credit unions. Why so little? The answer is simple—most young people have limited exposure to and understanding of credit unions compared to previous generations.

With Millennials comprising the largest demographic segment in the United States, estimated at just over 72 million people (Statista, 2022), it’s crucial for credit unions to adapt their outreach tactics to bridge this awareness gap and identify the most effective channels to communicate their value to all consumers.

Many credit unions today continue to rely on traditional marketing tactics such as word of mouth, local events, or mail campaigns to drive traffic to their websites. However, these methods are often time-consuming, expensive, and yield minimal results. Moreover, considerable resources are channeled into enhancing public-facing websites, which may not prove beneficial in attracting younger consumers as these sites don’t often appear prominently in their search engine results. This underscores the fact that enhancing your website is of little value if consumers aren’t actively searching for you in the first place.

The traditional member journey is becoming outdated and credit unions must break this unproductive cycle by exploring new strategies that align with modern consumer behaviors and preferences.

To attract and acquire a new generation of members, credit unions should prioritize investing in an embedded finance strategy. The shift toward online shopping is undeniable, with 80% of Millennials primarily shopping online (up from 60% in 2019) and 96% of Gen Zs in the United States reporting monthly online purchases in 2023. These demographics heavily rely on embedded finances for their transactions. Therefore, credit unions must establish a visible presence on these platforms rather than relying solely on consumers actively seeking out their institution online.

The banking-as-a-service (BaaS) model can help credit unions embed their brands into consumers’ minds as they shop. For example, a credit union can integrate its credit options directly into e-commerce platforms, showcasing their competitive offers and rates to credit-worthy consumers at the point-of-sale, making them a viable financial alternative. This approach shifts away from the traditional member journey, which relies heavily on consumers actively seeking out offers and completing lengthy applications. With embedded finance, consumers can select the credit union offer that best suits their needs and complete the purchase without leaving the e-commerce platform or using the financial institution’s online banking app.

By leveraging embedded finance, credit unions can compete effectively in the modern digital arena, making their exceptional products and services known to the consumers they couldn’t previously reach. This strategy offers a viable alternative to high-budget, less effective campaigns via SEO or Facebook ads, or outdated marketing tactics that deliver minimal return. It enables credit unions to meet consumers where they are, delivering a tailored digital experience while still offering personalized support when needed. Through embedded finance, credit unions can elevate their brand nationwide, increase loan volume, and truly make a difference for all Americans in need of affordable credit.

Barry Kirby

Barry Kirby

Barry Kirby serves as the Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Union Credit. Before joining Union Credit, he held the position of Senior Vice President and Managing Director at CuneXus, ... Web: Details