3 Strategies Credit Unions Should Leverage To Attract, Engage Younger Members

The financial institution industry is beginning a wholesale transition of focus from Baby Boomers to Millennials and Gen Zers, whose generations are rapidly emerging.

January 26, 2023|by Spave

There has never been more competition for attention spans than there is now. We live in an instant-gratification era where consumers expect to be met and engaged with on their terms and in real time.

That's true for virtually all industries. Credit unions are no different. In fact, they're especially impacted when it comes to younger generations, and that's a matter of increasingly greater focus.

Millennials continue to emerge as a priority demographic among all consumers, having officially overtaken Baby Boomers as America's most populous generation in 2019, according to Pew Research Center.  But what's even more eye-opening is the generational wealth transfer that's about to unfold: Over the course of the coming years, some $30 trillion will change hands from Baby Boomers to their Millennial inheritors. 

That figure is utterly unfathomable, and it can't be ignored.

For credit unions, there are enormous consequences. Millennials and the generation immediately following them, Gen Zers, have far different priorities than their demographic predecessors. That means credit unions must change the way they do business in order to meet the expectations of their younger members.

We've put together three strategies for credit unions to employ as they shift more and more attention and resources to younger target audiences.

Stand For Something

Younger consumers take great interest in what brands care about.

According to Forbes, Millennials and Gen Zers are four to six times more likely to give their business to companies that have a clearly stated and clearly supported purpose. Some 70 percent of consumers in that same demographic say brands must have a purpose they, too, personally back. These are practical and actionable insights for credit unions. 

One of the defining differences between credit unions and banks is community impact. Credit unions are renown for their involvement in and support for various organizations and initiatives in the communities they serve. It shouldn't be hard, then, for credit unions to leverage their community-centric purpose to better engage with younger members.

Credit unions could also adopt specific causes relevant to their communities. In many cases, the framework for such adoption is already in place given credit unions' time-honored tradition of giving back to the locales and regions they belong to.


There are few resources that offer credit unions as much as the Credit Union National Association

CUNA is a national trade association for federally and state-chartered credit unions. With thousands of credit unions as members, CUNA boasts a network of the industry's very best. Invaluable membership perks include:

  • Advocacy for credit unions before governments and lawmakers
  • Guidance for regulations and compliance
  • Professional development
  • Networking with some of the brightest and most-accomplished minds in the industry

One of the best strategies for success is to try to recreate strategies that are successful elsewhere. Through CUNA, your credit union will have access to plenty of creative inspiration and practical insights. And since credit unions everywhere are learning how to best serve emerging younger demographics, that kind of a resource is particularly appealing right now.

Click here to learn more about CUNA.

Make Best Use Of Digital Tools 

Millennials and Gen Zers are the first generations to have grown up with smart devices and near-omnipresent internet connectivity. That means they have different expectations for service.

It's no secret that younger demos are more interested in digital offerings. But when it comes to credit unions, younger members want their financial institutions to engage them digitally yet simply. We know from the aforementioned Forbes study that that doesn't just mean mobile banking and  paperless statements — it means automated mechanisms for saving, customized financial insights, and, most importantly, a feeling of accomplishment. 

One way to check all those boxes at once is Spave. As the first and only all-in-one financial wholeness app that focuses on giving and inspiring social good, Spave is exactly the kind of feature younger generations are seeking from credit unions. The app allows users to effortlessly save money and give to the nonprofits and causes they care about, either by rounding up or contributing a percentage of transactions made with their debit or credit card. With connectivity to every nonprofit in good standing with the IRS, Spave can empower your credit union's members to make a direct impact on the purpose for which they care so passionately. The app even offers personalized, automated financial insights.

By partnering with Spave, your credit union could expand its impact, grow its mission, and reach even more members in an even more meaningful way. If you know of a credit union that might be interested in partnering with Spave to build the financially healthy, community-oriented digital banking world of the future, click here for more information.

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