I am a millennial. No, I don’t live in my parent’s basement. Yes, I have student loan debt (as most college students do). Yes, I shop on Amazon rather than going to the store because it’s convenient, and I don’t have to go out and fight the crowds of people all trying to achieve the same thing. I also like deals – why pay $100 for something that I could easily get for half the price someplace else? Does this make me lazy? Possibly… but I’m also thinking about the money I’m saving by not driving, the headache I’m not getting because of people on the road, and the time I’m saving because I can do everything at the click of a button.
What would have taken me an hour just took me ten minutes, leaving me fifty minutes to do what I please. I also don’t have to fight with Betty Sue for the last bundle of paper towel that’s on sale, even though I was clearly there first (but that I will save for another time). This type of thinking doesn’t just go with shopping, it also helps determine who I bank with, because I want to see who will give me the best deal, who values me as a member, as well as who can give me the goods and services that I need with convenience.
Convenience is key
So, let’s talk about that – convenience. Does your credit union offer services that are convenient for your members? There are so many things a credit union can offer to make members’ lives so much easier. Take loans for example, I love when I can apply for a loan online. Like most people who work a 9-5 job, my chances of making it into a branch are slim, unless of course there is a branch open on Saturdays. The fact that I can apply online, sign my loan docs via my PC, and have the loan without even seeing a person helps me out tremendously, and chances are I will go to a credit union who offers these services.
Of course, this isn’t the only thing I look for. I also look for good rates and a quality mobile banking experience. If I can get into my bank account, check my balance, and pay my friend for lunch by sending a simple person-to-person transfer, all within five minutes, then you can bet this credit union will probably win my vote. Like many millennials, I rarely carry cash, but I always have my phone. This also goes with my debit card. If I can get my new debit card handed to as I walk through the door, you’ve just made me a happy member! I want to be able to use my funds now, not wait 5-7 business days until my new card arrives.
Want my business? Earn it.
Credit unions are always competing on who can offer the best deal and the better rates on their products. This type of competing is exactly what I want. Who wants my business? If I can save money because ABC Credit Union can offer me an auto loan at a lower rate than XYZ Credit Union, that’s something to seriously consider. This, along with convenience and member service, plays a role in my decision making. Who doesn’t want to save money? If I can save $50 a month, I’m going to. That money can be put towards my rainy-day fund or other things.
Marketing is important as well. Believe it or not, those billboards ads are not going to waste! If I’m driving to work and see that a credit union is offering a deal on CDs, and it just so happens I’m looking to invest my funds into a new CD, then during my lunch break I’ll be checking out that credit union’s website and inputting an inquiry to learn more.
Member service goes beyond face-to-face interactions
Now, you may say, “Wait, you just contradicted yourself, because you don’t want to see someone in person, but then you said you look for member service as well.” Now don’t get me wrong, while I sometimes like stopping at a branch to deposit cash or to make a simple transfer on the weekends, member service isn’t only found in face-to-face interactions, it can also be how you’re presenting yourself in emails.
Do you sound pleasant? Do you sound like you value me as a member, or do you sound like I am just the cherry on top of your already terrible day? I get turned off if I feel like I am being pushed aside in an email. If I ask a question, please respond and explain your answer, then offer me more than just what I’m asking. This would even be a simple, “Please feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions. I’m happy to help!”
But this also means that if I’m asking for an auto loan, and you’ve already pulled my credit and see that I have two credit cards out there, offer me a personal loan as well, and explain how that will save me X amount each month by refinancing with you. Act like you want my business. If you see that I have funds sitting in a savings that only earns 15¢ every quarter, offer me another product that would give me a better payout.
No, it’s not just millennials
Let’s be honest though, millennials are not the only ones who want this. We get the credit (and a lot of the blame) for demanding convenience, but you and just about everyone else wants these things as well. As much backlash as my generation gets for being the “killers” of certain industries, these demands are not exclusive to our generation. The older generations use mobile banking too, and just the other day I saw a man asking why his mother had to wait five days for her new debit card when she needed it now. This mentality is going to be a big chunk of how members choose their financial institution in the future, so be sure to ask yourself “is my credit union ready?” Do we have things to offer that will help keep our member’s business?
This is just the beginning of how it is going to be, and as younger generations grow, they are also going to looking for ways their credit unions can be more convenient, save them money, and have great member service. I will be loyal to a credit union who values me as a member. So, what can your credit union offer this millennial?