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Millennials vs. Banks: An Exclusive Opportunity for Credit Unions

Millennials. Born between 1980 and 2000, this group of consumers is the largest generation in US history. Currently reaching their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is huge.

Accordingly, Millennials will also have a unique and powerful impact on financial institutions. Whether it’s spending, saving, online borrowing or accessing their funds, this emerging class of young adults is revolutionizing the way they manage their finances.

Born into a time of globalization, economic disruption, instant gratification and technological change, their behaviors, values, and experience are starkly different than those of their predecessors. However, they have the same basic economic needs as their elders: a trusted financial institution to help them manage their money. They just want it in a new, non-traditional way. This is why the time is right for credit unions to grab a significant market share from traditional banking.

Credit unions: YOUR TIME IS NOW. How can you elevate your marketing messaging to capture this massive opportunity?

  • Show you know how to communicate digitally. Millennials are the first generation of digital natives and their affinity for technology shapes the way they behave and make decisions. Born into a time of instant access to many choices, millennials are not willing to part with this luxury anytime soon..

  • Illustrate why your Credit Union offers a better, faster and more simple experience. Millennials want uninhibited access to their funds, but don’t want to travel to a bank or wait in lines and deal with strangers. Offer them “hassle-free banking”.

  • Emphasize your Credit Union operates without pesky fees and high-balance requirements. Frugal millennials, who are busy paying back student loans or saving to travel the world, are infuriated by these extra charges and constrictions. You have an unparalleled occasion to market yourself as a ‘cool’ alternative to this emerging generation that has some distrust in big banks and loathes the fees and charges that come with them.

  • Offer alternatives to traditional banking that are already trending among this demographic. Credit Unions can create simple, yet efficient, online services that allow users to quickly interact with their funds, move money around, secure loans and automatically save money. The mobile app Venmo ( is a perfect example – users can move money quickly within their social circles and beyond while avoiding ATMs, long drive-up window lines, and deposit slips.

  • Help Millennials create savings by offering special programs and incentives. They are extremely conscientious of their funds and love to build their savings account. 90% will check their balances using their smart phones once per week.

  • Regularly highlight your commitment to the community and involvement in local activities. Millennials are wary of big, faceless, corporate entities that are represented by traditional banks. Social causes are intrinsic to their lives, so let them know you are an active partner in the greater good.

  • Emphasize that your Credit Union is a non-profit, member-owned organization whose charter is to serve its member-owners. Again, this is an appealing attribute to Millennials vs. for-profit bank corporations.

This window of opportunity for Credit Unions will quickly close as Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and reputable banking institutions work to close the gap for Millennials. However, there is still time to optimize the experience for the powerhouse demographic whose wants and needs will influence behaviors and trends for decades to come.

The time to act is now.

Please let us know if you’d like to speak with us on how you can position yourself and properly execute effective messaging. We’d love to work with you. Feel free to Call John Baldwin at (561) 676-5350 or email us at

P.S. All of these motivating factors for Millennials are becoming significantly more important to ALL of your members. Your entire membership is open to digital communications and digital applications, regardless of what they do today, or say they prefer. As Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

With minimum exposure, Credit Union members find digital interactions easy, convenient and often the experience is simply better. Naturally, they lower your delivery costs as well, so it is a win-win for Credit Unions.

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