Among the points that summit speakers delivered over the previous two days and Oriani emphasized:
· Engage in dialogue, not monologue. The 18-to-30 guests who appeared at the summit make it clear that listening to the demographic is even more important than speaking to them. Gather first-hand input from interviews and panel discussions and let young adults’ insights guide your strrategies.
· Rethink marketing methods and messages. Don’t follow existing print media models or conventional. Become familiar with the current delivery channels and use them. Look for stories that resonate with the intended audience. “If rates are not the value proposition that works with this age group,” Oriani said, “stop shouting rates from the rooftop.”
· Explore the power of parental influence and peer referrals. Advertisers send 5,000 messages every day, but only two or three register with individuals. Advice from peers and parents is more believeable because it’s telling, not selling.
· Make the business case for change. Connect programs to existing strategic plans, goals, tactics. Conduct employee interviews and keep coworkers informed. Provide “talking points” for front-line staff. Repeated messaging is key.
Oriani sees credit unions facing increased competition from “person-to-person” lending. As an example, she points to Prosper, which claims, on its web site, to offer “personal loans without the big bank attitude.” Consumers in need of credit start the ball rolling by registering with Prosper and listing the desired loan amount and maximum acceptable interest rate. Interested individuals then compete for the loan, and the lowest bidder credits the borrowers bank account, from which monthly payments flow automatically. Prosper promises “No hidden fees, no pre-payment penalties, and your interest rate never changes.”
The people-to-people lending model that Prosper represents is relatively new, so the jury is still out on whether default rates on the unsecured loans are signigicant. Still, Oriani believes the innovation warrants watching.