Posts Tagged Gen Y

>The "B" Word

Posted by on Thursday, 30 October, 2008

>About a month or so ago, Heather H. Harris– CU Enthusiast in Michigan, posed an interesting question to the DE list serve. She was looking for an alternative word for ‘Home Banking’ -

I know, I know…it’s a common word that most consumers understand and can relate to … however every time I type that “b” word I shudder — and cannot finish typing it!

I relate it to eating potato chips — once you open the bag, it’s hard to stop. And, I am personally very afraid to start using that “b” word because this “credit union enthusiast” believes in the power of words and their message.

I advocate “keeping purpose constant” and protecting credit union uniqueness — and if this consummate credit union enthusiast caves, what next?!

Help me get past it and over it — or remind me to stand firm.

The responses to her question were undoubtedly interesting and polar. The following were suggested alternatives and some reactions:

  • Online Access
  • CU’r money on line ; CU’r money on line
  • Internet Branch
  • Online bill pay
  • Online account access
  • e-Branch
  • Online Branch
  • Online transactions
  • Visit your credit union online
  • CU Online
  • E-account; e-share
  • E-member
  • online finances
  • financials
  • Online branching
  • Home branch
  • Online member access
  • CU Acce$$

“Online banking is a verb and the way people refer to the act. Trying to use something else will confuse your current and potential members and they will avoid the product because they won’t understand what it is. Don’t let the word hang you up. Your job is to grow the credit union, make it stronger and make sure it is there for future generations.”

“I’ve dabbled in the use of “b” word from time to time but only when there was no other alternative and then I’ve gone back to more comfortable phrasing. While it is true that banking is a word with strong identity so is anything that references accessing your finances via PCs or other devices. Stay “b” free if possible.

“…And with the image of banks today, I believe we should establish this as the generic verbiage for credit unions like on-line banking is the 4 letter word. Let’s separate credit unions from those guys!”

“This issue of terminology seems to be endemic to CU land, dividing the cooperative purists from those who say – let’s get with it and use current financial services terminology. …It’s hard to fight the trend.”

“We’re only going to marginalize ourselves if we don’t use the common language. Like a trout swimming upstream all year long!”

“The problem is not with the B word. The word “banking” is defined as the business of a bank. That must mean that we need to define what the business of a credit union is…”

“It’s dangerous for credit unions to continue to straddle the fence … you’re either a bank or you’re a credit union. We need to stop blurring the lines because their failures become ours in the mind of the consumer.”

What do you think?

>Gen Y: Stereotypes, Economy, Technology, and the Workplace

Posted by on Friday, 24 October, 2008

Happy Friday everyone! I recently ran across some interesting reads and want to share them with everyone. These links are to articles on various young adult and Gen Y topics from around the world.

Check them out…

  • Here is a rather gritty opinion piece from a Gen Y’er regarding the stereotypes associated with our generation.
    Baby Boomers Beware: Gen Y knows what’s up
    The Voyager – Pensacola,FL,USA
    I’m tired of getting discriminated against for my age. Everywhere I go, all I hear is, “Your generation is so lazy,” or, “Everyone your age is pale and fat

  • From our friends in Canada, this article offers info on how young adults can cope with the current economic situation.
    How does GenY cope amid such a turbulent economy? Save, save, save

    The Canadian Press – TORONTO
    TORONTO — Generation Y has by now moved beyond the allowance years, their financial concerns ranging from university tuition to mortgages and RRSPs.

  • This article comes to you all the way from India. It discusses a “new breed” of consumers, and how brick and mortar institutions use technology along with digital strategies to make the most of my generation.
    FMCG firms in digital mode to woo Gen Y – New Delhi,Delhi,India
    Bengaluru, Oct. 23: The digital economy has spawned a new breed of consumers who choose how or when to engage with a brand that is trying to woo them.

  • Penelope Trunk, better known as the Brazen Careerist and author of a book bearing the same name, blogs about how Gen Y will change the workplace when we’re at the helm.
    3 Ways work will change when Gen Y is in charge

    Brazen Centrist – USA
    In ten years, Gen Y will have taken over middle management. Maybe in five years, if my own office is any indication. But I am sure that Gen Y will run the…

>Indirect Lending & Young Adults

Posted by on Monday, 20 October, 2008

I just finished preparing a presentation for the upcoming Lending Council Annual Meeting (insert shameless plug here.) As I was doing my research for the presentation, I ran across the article, Building Members from Indirect Borrowers in the Idaho Credit Union League’s August 2007 newsletter that peaked my interest.

The article covers a portion of CUNA Mutual’s Discovery Conference in 2007, where Bill Jolicoeur, vp and executive product leader at CUNA Mutual, discussed the opportunities indirect lending presents to credit unions since roughly 40% of existing loans in 2007 were made to indirect borrowers.

It’s tricky, of course. As the article points out, these members don’t switch over to other services easily… either because they are wed to their existing financial institutions and/or they don’t know that your credit union can do more for them.

But Jolicoeur suggests that the opportunity really lies in what he calls, “data mining,” according to the article. Data mining is essentially taking a look at the indirect borrower’s financial information and targeting messages for products and services that meet their needs, like loan consolidation. Here’s Jolicoeur’s point…

“Data mining allows you to look at what they have outstanding,” said Jolicoeur. “You have to be able to show them there’s a really good shot at helping them financially.”

I’d like to take this a step further. I think indirect borrowing offers an incredible opportunity for credit unions who want to better serve 18-to-30s.

When it comes to attracting young adults, making the most of every opportunity is just as important as relevant ad campaigns, messaging, and Web sites. In this case, the opportunities are presented through indirect borrowing & Jolicoeur’s concept of data mining.

Many of these indirect borrowers are entering their prime borrowing years, and the credit union has an opportunity to examine their info to determine where the credit union can help. Once that’s established, it’s a matter of developing your relationship with these new-found young adult members and proving to them that you have what it takes to meet their needs. Follow up with a phone call, relevant messaging, maybe even point them to your Web site if it has the right information presented to meet their needs and answer basic questions.

No, it’s not simple. No, it’s not the “silver bullet” most folks are looking for. It is, however, another tool in the credit union toolbox for better serving young adults.

Thanks to copyblogger for the cool pic

>Credit Union "Bucks the Norm" and Gets it Right

Posted by on Tuesday, 30 September, 2008

>The “young adult conversation” in credit union world has evolved in the past three years I’ve been Manager of Young Adult Programs here at CUNA. The conversation is no longer about what the issue is and why there is a problem. It is now focused on what can CUs do, and how do they do it.

With that said, I’d like to share how one credit union is addressing the issue of better attracting and serving young adults. Tinker Federal Credit Union launched phase 1 of a financial education site for my generation called Buck the Norm. Check out the site, and this video for more details and to draw your own conclusions…

For this post, I want to focus the discussion on where the folks at Tinker have gotten it “right.” IMHO there are three major areas:

  • Content of site is RELEVANT, connects, and isn’t “jive.” The site is new, so there isn’t a giant amount of content. But what is on the site is written in a way that speaks with the user, instead of talking to the user, and isn’t trying too hard to be “cool.” The articles and blog posts are written in a style that is informative, to the point, and relaxed. The video is edgy, well produced, and makes a strong point. All of this is important because communicating in this manner connects with the audience and doesn’t come across as thinly veiled attempt to hook my generation into buying something. More on that later…
  • Good use of Web 2.0. Tinker provides an RSS feed and uses a button from addthis that enables social bookmarking, where users can share information with friends and promotes organic/viral promotion of their message. This kind of word of mouth marketing is a powerful way to share your message and has a genuine feel to those who receive the message, because it came from a person and not an institution or company. This is important because TFCU is attempting to take advantage of existing structures popular with a large portion of the demographic such as Facebook, Digg, Technorati, and other social networking/bookmarking tools to spread the word.
  • Not directly selling products or services. Actually I didn’t find any links to specific products/services offered by Tinker, only a small link at the bottom to Tinker’s main Web site… which from the user’s perspective, demonstrates a genuine attempt at bringing valuable information to the audience.

But why is that last point important? Because sites that position themselves as being a resource, and then hit you over the head with sales pitches are seen as disingenuous. The user is baited into believing the site is there to provide unbiased information, but then it becomes apparent that the REAL reason the site exists is to sell something.

A good example of this kind of tactic are those Web sites who offer something for free, such as a credit report, but require you to sign up for a service in return. The TV and radio ads, as well as the name of the site itself may suggest that you can grab a free item with no strings attached. However, reading the fine print reveals that the user is, in fact, signing up for a trial membership that is only free for a certain period of time. If the user doesn’t cancel their membership within the allotted time, they are charged for the service.

That’s not to say that providing links from sites such as Buck the Norm to related services and products is a bad thing… it’s all in how you position the site AND the links. For example, MoneyMix (my little project for CUNA) allows subscribing credit unions to provide links directly back to the credit union web site, but these links are displayed in an “ad” like format on the right hand side. There’s no confusion about the main purpose for the site from the user’s perspective and it’s a way for the credit union to demonstrate they can help the user with related products and services. Texas Dow Employees Credit Union’s work with Currency Marketing to produce Young & Free Texas and Resource One Credit Union’s similar attempt My Life My Money are good examples of how products or services can be integrated with a site specifically for my demographic.

>Illinois CUs share piece of student loan program pie

Posted by on Tuesday, 23 September, 2008

>Big news from the Land of Lincoln… CUNA News Now reports two Illinois state agencies and eight Illinois credit unions will work together in a new state program to provide financial aid to as many as 20,000 college students each year.

An article today confirmed that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission approved the arrangement which was announced earlier in September.

Two points I’d like to make…

  1. It’s wonderful to see that kind of collaboration. In fact, the News Now piece mentions that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission had approached six foreign banks to invest in student loans. However, due to the subprime lending crisis, lenders have had to pull out of the student loan arena, says the News Now article.
  2. Student loans in particular, and catering to the needs/preferences of college students in general, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to truly serving the needs of the demographic and attracting more young adults as credit union members. Not all Gen Y’ers, Millenials, Echo Boomers (or whatever you want to call us) are in college. Many of my fellow young adults didn’t go to college or to a trade school and will be facing a tough road if the economy continues to sour. The needs between a 21-year-old in their Junior year at college, and a 21-year-old mechanic are vastly different… even if they both have an iPhone.

On a slightly related note, our credit union friends down under at BDCU in Australia seem to be doing a great job letting members know they’ve avoided direct exposure to the subprime meltdown. Check out this news piece published in their local paper, the Southern Highland News. Know of any CUs doing the same? Post a comment with a link to the article.

>YES Summit Impacts Strategic Planning

Posted by on Tuesday, 16 September, 2008

>Think the CUNA YES Summit is just another conference? As Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friend!”

The event has a history of affecting change and sparking new ideas. In fact, here on the YES CU Blog, we’ve highlighted several credit unions and attendees who’ve directly benefited as a result of their participation at the YES Summit. You can read more about their experiences here, here, and here.

So, in keeping with this theme, it’s time to share how the interactive sessions, collaborative events, and informative dialogue continue to enable attendees to take action when they return to their credit union.

Here’s what Dustin Limburg, Marketing Representative for Wright-Patt Credit Union, 30 Under 30 participant, and all-around nice guy had to say about his experience…

“The 2007 YES Summit proved to be a valuable experience that I recommend to anyone involved with young adults. I had the opportunity to learn the importance of technology and social media in reaching the young adult demographic. We have begun implementation of various social media strategies directly related to the content I took away from this great summit!”

The impact of the YES Summit is also reflected in what past attendees said about the event in their evaluations…

“I felt as though I gained a definite advantage in developing programs for the GEN Y group. The interaction with other credit union professionals gave me many fresh ideas and new contacts for assistance in the future.” – 2007 YES Attendee

“The benefits from this program far exceeded my expectations! I was made aware of concepts and ideas to reach Gen Y in ways that I would have never thought of on my own. I want to make sure that I am doing everything possible to effectively reach, inform and maintain Gen Y and this conference made me feel it is not only possible, but essential! Thank you.” – 2007 YES Attendee

“I have a hard time spending money and traveling to CU conferences. However, I feel that the YES Summit is so important due to the need of CU’s to focus on this demographic. These young adults are the future of the credit union movement and if we don’t dial in their needs, we will not exist!” – 2007 YES Attendee

What about you? Did you attend the YES Summit? If so, how did you and your credit union benefit? Inquiring minds want to know!

>What’s the Next Big Thing?

Posted by on Friday, 5 September, 2008

>First, I’d like to assure you that Josh and I met this week and talked about many exciting things to come for this blog as we progress closer to this year’s YES Summit…so stay tuned! We are committed to posting more frequently as well – we’ve been sidetracked working on other things here in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin. It’s not that we don’t love you dear readers, we just want to post quality stuff.

Having said that, in the meantime, please enjoy a blog post I just did on Filene’s CU Tomorrow blog on “Using Technology to Attract Young Adults – Lessons from Toy Story and Netscape.”

> Check it out and comment here.

>Sound off on Young Adult Savings

Posted by on Tuesday, 5 August, 2008

>The good folks over at TMG’s Payment Industry Insider blog did a recap last week of a posting I did recently to the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program list serve.

There was a discussion around savings and I sent out a note about my Filene 30 under 30 group’s project on prized-based savings. Many folks replied online and off-line with interest and my group got some great feedback.

Anyway, the Payment Industry Insider post is here – Savings: Can it be the New Rage?

Be sure to comment on your thoughts….“is savings a thing of the past, or can it be the new rage with consumers? Particularly young adults, the millenials. How can you be an influence?”

>Article: When Should Parents Stop Paying the Rent?

Posted by on Wednesday, 23 July, 2008

>One of the many magazines I read on a daily basis is Newsweek. In each issue, they publish an essay by a reader for their “My Turn” section – the latest is a great piece by Melody Serafino, a twenty-something New Yorker discussing the importance of young adults’ financial independence from their parents.

I always knew I would end up in New York. After college and a three-month stint living rent-free in an uncle’s Tribeca apartment, I had saved enough money to renounce further financial assistance from my parents. If I was ever in a serious financial bind, I knew they would offer help, but after 10 years of private-school education on their dime, I didn’t want to come crawling back for an allowance. Besides, wasn’t that the point of my expensive education—to adequately prepare me to take on the world and take care of myself? Financial independence means social freedom and absolute control over my own life. Yet among my peers, I seem to be the only one who feels this way.

Why? Because the majority of them receive some sort of financial assistance from their parents—and few say they want to change anything about the way they live. One 25-year-old friend—whose parents pay for more than half her rent and all her utilities, as well as giving her spending money—snubbed the idea of compromising her lifestyle for financial independence. Another, a 22-year-old who gets a portion of her rent paid by Mom and Dad, admitted she would be willing to cut back on “superfluous spending,” but was reluctant to move out of Manhattan and into a more affordable borough like Brooklyn or Queens.

> Read the whole article here.

It’s a great piece. “It’s easy to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ when financial responsibility is someone else’s problem.” Yes!

The article echoes and reinforces the importance of financial education by credit unions – to both parents and young adults. If you can, reprint this article (get permission first) or blog about it. Or ask your members to tell their story. Or?

Serafino’s message is a powerful one that will resonate with young adults – “Financial independence has allowed for absolute control over my own life — an undeniably liberating feeling.”

>A Look at a Facebook Page – Christian Financial Credit Union

Posted by on Thursday, 10 July, 2008

>Recently, I was engaged in a great discussion around pay-per-click advertising on the YES CU Community and came across Christian Financial Credit Union’s Facebook page. Lauren Vance, Marketing Manager for the CU, had a nifty button from her YES CU Community profile that says “find us on Facebook” which led me there.

I’ve always preferred Facebook’s layout over MySpace’s sometimes chaotic design. Christian Financial’s page makes good use of the layout and it has everything I’d expect from a credit union’s Facebook page. It includes:

  • Short info on the credit union
  • How to join
  • Link to their Facebook banking application (MyMoney).
  • Current promos, notes and events
  • Discussion board and wall access for fans to post.
  • Featured info on their online gifting service
  • and more.

It’s pretty good and attractive (although is the album of branch pictures really necessary?). I followed up with Lauren with a few questions about the page:

Why did you start a FB page?
Lauren: I’ve been looking for the best possible way to establish a strong online community (since CU’s are suppose to invest in the communities they are a part of), and had read about the marketing potential within FB. Our core processor (Fiserv Galaxy) was also building an online banking app for FB, so with a value-add for the community, we opted to work within FB.

Who maintains it and monitors it? About how much time does it take?
Lauren: My department (Marketing) maintains and monitors our page. It does not take much time at all. It’s just important to log in daily to see what activity has been occurring to ensure the integrity of the page. I check back in throughout the day (which takes less than 2 minutes at a time). Updates never take more than 10 minutes.

How often is it updated?
Lauren: I’ve been trying to post at least 3 new things a month. I’d love to further enhance it with video and additional applications in the future to keep our “fans” wanting to come back. It’s important to update or else the page gets stale.

Have you got any feedback from members on it?
Lauren: We have gotten positive response about just being in the community, and also that the online banking application is very easy to use.

Any other info you want to share on your CU’s facebook experience?
Lauren: Advertising your page within the community makes a big difference in fan growth and traffic. I recommend making use of the CPC- or CPM-based ads in FB. FB lets you select your target audience (it may be as broad as the entire FB community or as narrow as, for example, 26-year-old females in Detroit who love “The Office”). Once you begin the ads, make sure to monitor them frequently. If you’re not getting much activity, consider expanding your target audience.

Thanks again to Lauren Vance for the interview. It’s important to note that Facebook Pages are free – I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s worth a look!

Additional Links:
> Christian Financial Credit Union’s Facebook Page
> Facebook Pages Overview
> Facebook Pages Tutorial (pdf)
> Nine Reasons You Should Be Using and Watching Facebook
> The Updated Unofficial and Smartass Guide to Using Facebook
> Facing Your Fear of Facebook