Creating Loyal Gen Y Members

Two-year campaign helps Veridian CU grow Gen Y membership by 6%.

September 09, 2013
KEYWORDS cuna , research
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A conversation with an employee who just became a new father reminded DyAnn Longseth of the challenges in attracting deeply engaged Generation Y members.

Longseth, senior vice president of marketing at $2.4 billion asset Veridian Credit Union in Waterloo, Iowa, asked the employee if he had thought about setting up a children’s savings account or a college education fund.

“No,” he said. “I’m just worried about paying for diapers and day care.”

Creating loyal Gen Y members (also known as Millennials) can be tough. Younger members of the demographic set (typically 18- to 23-year-olds) are focused on their education or finding jobs in a challenging economy. And the older group (generally 24- to 35-year-olds) is overwhelmed by new responsibilities and lifestyle changes.

Nevertheless, Veridian successfully recruited these groups during a two-year campaign. In 2012, it increased Gen Y membership by 6% over 2011, and pushed retention to more than 90% for the first time.

“We have the products and services, and I think we have the culture here that’s attractive to Millennials, both members and employees,” Longseth says. “They see a sincerity; an openness. Diversity and inclusiveness are very important to us.”

That culture includes ongoing financial literacy through the Advice for Life initiative, which evaluates young members’ overall financial health.

The credit union also started a Facebook advisory group, and it sponsors a studenthosted lecture series at the University of Northern Iowa and holds community outreach efforts at targeted events.

Veridian offers Gen Y-friendly products such as a mobile app, remote deposit capture, and a credit builder card with $250 immediately available.

The credit union also considers payment history on cell phone or utility bills, for example, instead of relying solely on a credit score when making credit decisions.

Not to be overlooked is the credit union’s “reboarding” program, which bolsters retention. Periodic analysis prompts staff to contact members who display a few common “at-risk” traits: no active checking, no qualifying share or loan, a loan that will mature within a year, or a share certificate that matures within a month.

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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 ( 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.

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