Millennials have surpassed the baby boomers and now number 2.5 billion worldwide. More young adults are looking for financial institutions they can trust. Credit unions should look for ways to improve their financial structures to attract millennials. Here are some helpful solutions to acquire credit union growth:
"Features such as mobile deposits and transfers are what millennials are looking for to save valuable time."
Change to mobile banking
Growing up surrounded by technological advances, millennials expect technology from their credit unions. Studies have shown that despite security and safety issues, more and more Americans are using mobile banking. Features such as mobile deposits and transfers are what millennials are looking for to save valuable time. Credit unions around the globe are adopting more mobile accessibility and offerings.
That way, customers rarely, if ever, have to visit a branch. According to a study conducted by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in conjunction with research firm Braun, 33 percent of consumers are using their mobile bank app more often, while 35 percent are banking online more frequently than a year ago, and the numbers are expected to increase.
Despite the growth of mobile banking, a credit union's website should not lag behind. Research shows that 78 percent of millennials still use a bank's website or online portal, as do 75 percent of Gen X and 67 percent of baby boomers.
Offer financial education
The University of Kansas surveyed more than 6,000 people ages 18-34 and found that only 6 percent of millennials were financially educated. About half of the millennials surveyed were not saving for emergencies.
"Having the knowledge and the opportunity to make decisions financially can relate to your ability to save for retirement down the road, how you invest in home ownership and other types of wealth. It's very critical," said researcher and KU associate professor of social welfare Terri Friedline to Wow! 6 News.
This is a great opportunity for credit unions to attract millennials by providing the financial education they need. Because credit unions are generally smaller than traditional banks, they are able to more closely monitor their members. This means they can extend financial education to millennials who need it. They can offer one-on-one guidance on issues such as paying debt, negotiating salaries, saving for a down payment and planning for retirement. This will provide the education millennials need while increasing credit union membership.
Changing customer service
Studies have shown that millennials prefer a different kind of customer service. Instead of the traditional phone call, they would rather interact via online chat, social media and text while Generation Xers and baby boomers tend to prefer a more traditional route. Desk.com's extensive survey reported that 82 percent of millennials preferred Facebook as the medium to interact with a company or brand. Twitter was second in the running at 43 percent and Instagram third at 25 percent.
"It's a reminder that as an organization you have to look at what you're doing today and see where holes are," says Leyla Seka, senior vice president and general manager of Desk.com. "A big part of that is knowing who you're supporting."
The survey reported that 80 percent of the Americans ages 18-65 said that calling traditional customer service lines is a huge inconvenience to their lives. For millennials, phone customer service is very unpopular with 26 percent saying they never look forward to it. The Gen Xers and baby boomers are not far behind with their 19 and 18 percent, respectively. Because large banks are still associated with the "hard to deal with" stigma with long phone calls, credit unions should change up their ways. The more credit unions move toward online customer service, the more they can attract millennials.