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Credit unions can attract millennials with ATMs

Credit unions can attract millennials with ATMs

Millennials are the latest demographic over which credit unions and big banks must compete, so offering amenities like ATMs is more important than ever. Currently, banks are winning this competition, as millennials have been slower than previous generations to embrace credit unions as their go-to financial institutions.

According to a report in The Financial Brand which analyzed data from the Center for Financial Services Innovation, only 27 percent of millennials in the U.S. are credit union members. This number nearly doubles in the over-36 population, where about 50 percent of consumers hold credit union accounts. While this divide may seem intimidating to credit unions hoping to remain in business down the line, the report noted that millennials weren't avoiding credit unions out of dislike or distrust. In fact, most young people weren't using credit unions simply because they didn't know much about them as viable, efficient financial management options. 

In addition to expanding marketing, branding and outreach efforts focused on 18- to 34-year olds, here are some ways credit unions can increase millennial membership:

Provide numerous ATM locations and redirect focus

Millennials are often referred to as "digital natives," a title they received for being the first generation to come of age in a time where technology was ubiquitous, advanced and rapidly evolving. Young people are used to a more instant, accessible world than the one their parents and grandparents knew, and this attitude certainly extends into their financial lives: Millennials want to know they can withdraw cash wherever and whenever the need for physical currency arises. By offering ATMs at as many locations as possible, your credit union can serve an essential role for young people, and inspire them to continue holding accounts with your institution.

Focus on financial experiences they can relate to 
Because millennials are really just kicking off their financial lives, they're not necessarily going to pay much attention to services like mortgages and business loans that older patrons may consider more important. To really connect with today's young adults, credit unions need to speak their language.

Social Stairway suggested credit unions focus on creating web content that's pertinent to the monetary issues modern 20- and 30-somethings are dealing with. Highlighting topics like paying off undergrad loan debt, buying a car, budgeting, moving out of parents' homes and paying for graduate programs can help you build a rapport with your next generation of members. When distributing this information, take advantage of the widespread millennial presence on social media - post it to your credit union's Facebook and Twitter pages, and invest in social media advertising. 

Leverage your institution's ethical code
Past generations were more focused on how companies served them than how companies served the world, but millennials are breaking the mold. Modern young adults understand how institutions are able to impact communities - for better or for worse - and are consciously avoiding organizations without strong moral codes. To attract millennials, credit unions should show that they operate under admirable ethical standards and are committed to improving the world. 

The Credit Union Times reported on a success story from Vancouver, Canada, where a credit union seeking increased millennial membership launched an initiative to support small, local businesses. By advertising this community-building endeavor through millennial-friendly outlets like social media channels and blog sites, the credit union achieved its goal of an increase in young account holders. Overall, the campaign brought in 70,000 new clients and the credit union experienced a 14 percent boost in lending and deposits, reported the source. 

May 26, 2017