Marketing

CU Members Today and Tomorrow

Aging membership requires CUs to seek out younger, more diverse groups.

August 08, 2011
KEYWORDS credit , nonmembers , unions
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

As credit unions look to attract new members and peak borrowers in the future, they should increasingly think “young” and “Hispanic.”

So says Kristina Grebener, CUNA’s director of editorial staff and strategic development, addressing third-year CUNA Management School students on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Credit union members tend to be older than nonmembers (47.4 years vs. 45.9 years), she says, citing statistics from CUNA 2011-2012 National Member Survey. As a result, “Credit unions need to find ways to attract peak borrowers,” she says, those ages 25 to 44.

One-third (33%) of credit union members fall into this category (down from 42% from 2008 to 2010) vs. 36% of nonmembers. And only 9% of credit union members are age 18 to 24 (vs. 14% of nonmembers), CUNA’s National Member Survey reports.

What's a credit union?What’s a CU?Third-year CUNA Management School students ask residents of Madison, Wis., why they bank where they do and gauge their knowledge of CUs.
Here's what they found:

video Why do you bank where you do?

video How does your CU attract young members?

In addition, nearly 70% of nonmembers ages 18 to 24 are “not at all familiar” with credit unions—the highest rate of unfamiliarity among all age groups. “Your credit union needs these young consumers for future loan and membership growth,” Grebener says.

One way to reach young consumers is to target Hispanic Americans, she adds. This group accounts for 16% of the U.S. population, with a median age of 26.8 (vs. 39.5 for white, non-Hispanics), according to CUNA’s Environmental Scan. Plus, 40% to 50% of Hispanics don’t have a relationship with a traditional financial institution.

What’s certain is there’s room for improvement: Credit unions’ membership growth rate hovered at 1.3% in 2010. “That tells us we’re not relevant,” Grebener says. “If we’re not growing, we’re rotting.”

Age or Profitability?

Serge Milman | OptiRate
August 08, 2011 12:17 pm
This article seems to indicate that the primary concern of Credit Unions should be age diversity of their members. We are not sure that acquiring new members - younger members - will necessarily lead to Credit Union growth and profitability. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite. Instead of focusing on age --- we suggest the focus should be on the prospective members' ability to grow and generate profitability for the CU.


Flag Comment as Offensive

Post a comment to this story

heroes

What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive