It was not too long ago that newspapers and radios were the leading news sources; from home phones in every house to cell phones in every pocket it is evident that times are changing. With changing times come changing generations and changing consumers. One such generation of consumers are the Millennials. Our world’s population has seen Builders/Silent Generation (persons born between 1924-1945 ), Boomers (1946-1964 ), Gen X (1965-1980 ), Gen Y/Millennials (1980- early 2000) and the Next Gen/Gen Z (born after 1995). According to US census, worldwide and in the US, millennials are now the largest generation yet – some 2.3 billion strong.
So how does this information translate throughout the cooperative movement? In many industries, from banking to travel, products and services are currently being curtailed to meet the desires and needs of this millennial market. What about the credit union movement? What have we been doing? What are we doing?
Are our services geared solely towards our traditional membership of whom the majority consist of Builders, Boomers and Generation X? Or are our services created and marketing strategies predicated on the needs and wants of this dominant group of this 21st century? If we have not begun then it is time!
In our last publication, we highlighted that the Central Finance Facility (CFF) in its quest to champion the “Cooperation among Cooperative” principle, have embarked on an exciting journey with member credit unions in a project entitled: ‘Credit Unions Millennial Membership Survey’. The objective of this venture is to capture data among millennials in Trinidad & Tobago which will assist the movement in better understanding their needs, desires and behaviour.
The #1 priority of any credit union is their members. In communities locally, regionally and internationally, credit unions stand out as excellent service providers which go the extra mile, beyond the facilities which are offered by other financial institutions such as banks. In order to remain relevant in the next 10 to 20 years and maintain the position as #1, the cooperative movement must make the necessary changes to better communicate to millennials and provide attractive packages which will supply them with the value which their parents, grand & great grandparents enjoyed and which only the credit unions can provide.
Some of the key aspects within the movement which needs to be addressed in order to make millennials a priority member include: media engagement – social media and media engagement, value consciousness, the requirement for immediacy, the desire for entrepreneurship/innovation and the demand for authenticity. All of which we will be more detailed about in Part II.
Finally, it must be noted that Millennials not only make up a large percentage of the world’s population, however, they also own the highest purchasing power at approximately $170 billion per year. Now this speaks volumes. As a result, the onus is upon the credit union movement to assist this youthful group in investing their money wisely, simultaneously making a significant contribution to their community while securing a future membership.
Millennials want to make a difference. We already have many sustainable solutions at our fingertips – it should be every organization’s challenge to empower the generation who want to make a difference and to do so quickly.