When I became a member of my first credit union, I had no idea I would still be a member 20 years later. To be honest, at the time I was probably too young to understand or care about what it meant to be part of a credit union, I was only interested in getting an Xbox.
You see, at 19, my father was no longer interested in supporting all my entertainment needs as he was busy paying for the food and roof over my head. He suggested I get a line of credit account at the credit union that he banked for many years.
So, I went to the local credit union opened my account, set up direct deposit, and created my first line of credit for a whopping $300. Then I ran to the store and purchased myself a brand-new Xbox. This experience linked me and my credit union forever.
Reaching new audiences
As I grew older, I came to have a better understanding of the credit union I joined and that meant much more to me. In fact, I still have that line of credit today. It is much more than the $300 I started with back then. It is simply amazing how such a small act of trust from that credit union could make such an impact on a young kid who was making very little at the time.
This got me thinking, how is your credit union building memberships with your young members? How are you working to connect with them, even if just to help them get their next gaming console? While there are probably hundreds of ways, here are a few ideas that I thought about on how to bring young members to your credit union.
Offer online account opening
Young members are technically savvy and expect convenience today. They are less willing to come into the branch than ever. That is why is so important to speak with young members through online channels and allow them to open a membership to your credit union online.
These members will then go on to use all your online services keeping lines short at the credit union when members really need to speak with someone.
Young member outreach programs
Reach out to kids and teens through different channels to encourage them to give your credit union a shot. It is not all about rates for every member. Young members want to be part of a group.
Start with current members’ parents and give them a benefit when bringing their children in to open their accounts. Those kids are the members of the future. Also, consider hosting free events in schools or at community events to encourage better financial health for young adults.
Targeted marketing campaigns
When reaching out to young members, think about new ways to market to their needs. In my example, I wanted an Xbox. However, your credit union might want to offer a line of credits to pay for a new yoga membership, Nintendo Switch, computers, a new iPhone, or a PlayStation 5.
Use social media
Make sure your credit union is reaching out to people on all the social media platforms. The nice part about social media platforms is that you can make inexpensive videos and marketing with very few resources. Social media is important because it is a way to reinforce and give references to someone during your outreach programs.
Social media can also be a great tool for offering financial wellness advice. Teens and young adults get a lot of their finance lessons from social media, and your credit union can build trust with them by being a reliable source. But more on that here.
Instant loan programs
Instant loan programs—and by that I mean pre-qualified loan offers offered at the click of a button—are great for your current young membership, so don’t be afraid to offer them small loans to help build loyalty. I know that we are all looking to get large long-term loans and that young members can be risky, but you may be building a 65-year relationship that will keep your credit union moving in the future.
Giving members the ability to take out a loan with no intervention from the credit union is the definition of convenience. This makes it a perfect place to offer your 18–25-year-olds $250 or $500 from time to time.
There are endless ways for your credit union to connect with younger members and build trust in your financial institution. I hope my story sparked an idea for your credit union to create new ways to build your membership. I would also really enjoy it if you wanted to share some of your experiences with me, so comment below!