by: Tom Kazar, VP Sales, Transamerica Financial Solutions Group
How to attract young consumers to your Credit Union
As you know, it’s critical to any credit union’s longevity to attract and retain a young clientele to ensure the future prosperity of the organization. To this end, why not deliver the financial training today’s students desperately need? Sponsoring complimentary fiscal management seminars for students, or possibly scholarship or other contests, is a potential win-win for your community bank or credit union and the young people whose long-term loyalty you wish to cultivate.
It’s never too early to teach children to understand and manage their finances so that they can avoid accruing excessive debt as adults. Recruit your most outgoing staff members to host a variety of one-session programs for different age levels. For example, a “Passbook Savings 101” type of talk is appropriate for elementary and middle school kids, while information about applying for financial aid for college is helpful for older students. Responsible credit card use is another timely topic.
Here are some specific suggestions for seminars that can be held at one or more of your branches, or even on-site at area elementary, middle and high schools:
- For elementary and middle school students: “Start saving while you’re young and watch your money grow.” Walk participants through the basics of opening a savings and/or checking account, and depositing, withdrawing and balancing funds.
- For high school students: “How to apply for an auto loan,” and “How to apply for financial aid for college” are ideal topics. These seminars can be held at one of your branches or, perhaps with the help of a business management teacher or DECA* coach, at the school.
- Contests are another way to attract young customers to your FI. Very young children can participate in a “color this picture” contest to be entered in a drawing for a modest prize, for example.
- High school students can submit essays, transcripts and teacher recommendations to compete for scholarship money. Awarding scholarship money is a serious business that ideally involves a small selection committee of unbiased industry leaders, but the effort is well worth it due to the positive publicity your FI will be able to generate. An Alberta, Canada-based credit union currently awards four $750 scholarships each year, and spreads the word via a luncheon honoring the recipients, newsletter articles and press releases to the local media. The program has been so successful that it is now being adapted on a larger scale in British Columbia.
Once you’ve designed these seminars and/or contests, how will you get the word out? Use both old and new marketing techniques, including colorful posters in the branches, splashy notices on your Website, statement stuffers and Facebook’s “events” feature. (Young people in particular love to use Facebook’s “like” feature, which helps to generate buzz.) Local newspapers will likely print brief information about your events if you submit the news in a timely manner. It may take some time to develop such programs and attract students to them, but the results will be well worth the effort.
Tom Kazar is the Vice President of Sales and leader of the Sales Team for Transamerica – Financial Solutions Group. Tom’s focus is on adding new insurance industry products, expanding marketing distribution channels and helping agents grow their business. With more than 20 years of experience in the financial institution and credit union industries, Tom has a talent for honing in on the most strategic, cutting-edge marketing opportunities that move our business and partnerships towards exponential growth.
Transamerica Financial Solutions Group caters to the needs of credit unions, community banks, and larger financial institutions. We offer specific programs for credit insurance and debt cancellation products including marketing strategy, training, marketing support, and related services. www.TransamericaFinancialSolutions.com
*DECA [deca.org] is an international high school and college organization for future business leaders.