Credit Unions Must Attract Younger Generations To Ensure Sustainability & Long Term Success

Chaguanas, Trinidad – 5 April, 2019: The Central Finance Facility (CFF) hosted a Thought Leadership Breakfast meeting on Friday March 29, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency. The theme “Credit Unions winning with Millennials” sought to highlight the findings of the CFF’s 2018 Credit Union Millennial Membership Survey.

The event commenced with opening remarks by CFF President, Ms. Letitia Telesford, who highlighted the distinctive traits of the millennial generation. She noted that the demographic is highly educated, outspoken and has a tendency to think outside the box. Ms. Telesford went on to state that the credit union movement needs to embrace this group for their tenacity, optimism and ability to network. These valuable skills, she stressed, will be highly beneficial to the movement’s success as it can be used to foster cooperation among cooperatives in Trinidad and Tobago.

Following the opening remarks a comprehensive overview of the results of the study was presented by Analyst, Mr. David Bazil. Mr. Bazil indicated that the results are critical and have a propensity to impact credit unions’ profit and loss. He said that traditionally young persons joined the credit union at the approximate age of thirty (30) or older; which is a result of how credit unions market to millennials and retain their interest. Making reference to a study conducted by D. Bazil & Y. Borde (2014) which examined a group of young persons and how they spend their money, Mr. Bazil proposed that research projects of this nature are necessary in helping the movement to better understand the characteristics of millennials—how differently they think, their interests and desires. Thus assisting credit unions in fostering early engagement and making stronger connections for the greatest possibility for retention of millennial business.

In his address, Co-Founder and CEO of Caribbean Ideas Limited, Mr. Brevard Nelson encouraged credit unions to utilise the principles of active listening when conversing with their customers; ensuring they convey how much they care and are adapting to the changing needs of the customer. Noting the hyper connectivity of millennials via technological platforms such as websites, direct messages (DM) and Instagram, he stated that technologically based platforms are key tools in targeting them. He emphasised the need for in depth profiling to determine lifestyles, patterns, storytelling to capture millennials’ attention and using technology on a large scale to reach greater audiences.

Marketing Officer, Trinidad & Tobago Police Credit Union, Ms. Jinell John and Lead Consultant, J. Bannister Branding, Ms. Jamila Bannister joined Mr. Bazil and Mr. Nelson for a panel discussion, which was moderated by CFF’s Marketing Analyst, Ms. Bridget Campbell. The ideas presented by Mr. Bazil and Mr. Nelson were endorsed during the panel discussion, with the following key themes emerging; a need for convenience, speed, affordability, referrals and the development of marketing personas. Both the audience and the speakers agreed that to achieve the goal of attracting and retaining millennials in the credit union movement, the mind set towards them needs to change. While the focus of the discussions was millennials, the Central Finance Facility recognises that the movement also needs to be prepared for an even younger generation which includes Generation Z and the Alpha generation.