How to Attract and Keep Younger Members

Adults age 18 to 34 who are likely to recommend CUs use the words ‘service’ and ‘easy.’

August 13, 2013
KEYWORDS adult , credit , unions , young
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Young adults want an institution that provides high-quality service and support, acts in their best interests, and makes conducting business easy—in that order.

The good news is that credit unions score well on all three counts, according to the Filene Research Institute report, “Next Generation Needs: Examining Credit Union Loyalty among Young Adults.”

The report considers the difference between what attracts members and what keeps members, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

The report splits adult members into three age groups: 18- to 34-year-olds, 35- to 54-year-olds, and 55+.

For comparison, the research looks at average NPS among those age ranges at banks and credit unions. Credit unions win handily.

The report also compares high-performing credit unions with low performers to tease out why some credit unions receive such high marks, and how all credit unions can use those insights.

CU Implications

While young adults’ NPS of credit unions is the lowest of the three demographic groups—53% compared to a respective 55% and 63% among older members—it’s still far better than banks’ NPS: 12% compared to 22% in each of the older groups.

Analysis of young adults’ feedback reveals three priorities:

1. Service and respect. Members feel that high-quality service and support are important, and agree their credit unions do a good job of providing it.

2. Ease and convenience. Younger members don’t want to expend much effort in their dealings with credit unions. The keyword “easy” showed up twice as often among top-performing credit unions as among bottom-performing credit unions.

3. Financial assistance. The most common request regarding financial capability is how to establish solid credit. Some of the most passionate comments came from members who built their credit and finally got a credit union loan for their dream car or first home.

Respondents seeking ease of use doing business value online and electronic services. Top-performing credit unions scored well on reliability and usability, with systems that are easy to use and work as advertised.

But even members at these credit unions have wish lists. They want mobile check deposit, external account transfers, online account opening, instant withdrawal of bill payments, check image and pending transaction viewing, and budgeting tools.

Also, how 18- to 34-year-olds conduct business is important for credit unions seeking to gain their loyalty. Understanding channel preferences allows planners to allocate resources accordingly.

The survey looked at three main channels—ATM, branch, and online—used by members of all ages who had at least a checking account.

Members age 18 to 34 are more likely than others to use the online and ATM channels more often, which is not surprising. What is surprising is that these young adult members still seem to use the branch as much as other members.

(Via CUNA E-Scan)

Branding & Education

Drew Schulthess @drewschulthess
August 14, 2013 3:38 pm
Excellent post. In addition to focusing on these three things, it is also important to create relevance through a brand identity and content strategy. Branding plays a big part, the younger groups have a completely different mindset. Traditional deliveries of content no longer work,and just utilizing popular social media mediums doesn't cut it. It is always good to create a presence specifically geared to the younger generation while adhering to your brand guidelines. Just my $.02!

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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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