Looking into the time frames that define generations can be confusing. Based on character definitions and date ranges, I fall somewhere at the tail end of Gen X and into Gen Y, which shares most of its time with, or is often referred to, as the Millennial Generation. Confusing? Yes. By character definition, I can relate to all three. So, as a barely Gen X-er, mostly Gen Y-er which seems to also make me a Millennial, I thought my perspective may be of use to my credit union connections.First-hand buyer persona information handed right to you, so to speak.
Lot's of prejudice against Credit Unions
Prior to taking my current position in which I interact daily with credit union professionals, I THOUGHT I knew what credit unions are and how they conduct business. What I THOUGHT I knew... Credit unions are banks for older people. They are not current with the technology of the times like today's big banks are. They are small, local, and simple. I can't be a member because I am not a specific trade employee, nor do I belong to a trade union. I would be restricted to do my banking in one, small geographic area. What if I moved? I would have to change financial institutions since it is not a nationwide bank. What if I travel? I can't use my debit card anywhere without fees. There is no difference in what is offered between banks and credit unions, and with banks, I can go anywhere...or nowhere even-with the convenience of my "with the times" banking mobile app.
Not just my grandpa's bank
It really sounds funny to me now, after months of learning about credit unions, how they operate, how they service, WHO they service. I believed them to be backwards thinking. In my defense, those were my perceptions. I did not know, nor was I educated differently. AND IT'S NOT JUST ME! I asked family and friends to tell me why they are bank customers and not credit union members. Their answers echoed mine. Now I know differently... What I now KNOW... Credit unions are not just my Grandpa's bank.
In speaking daily with wonderful credit union professionals I see such creativity, intelligence, and advancements. Some of my credit union professional friends are currently launching mobile banking apps, rebuilding websites, automating processes and launching amazing campaigns that are indeed, very much with the times. It is ok that I am not an auto worker or a firefighter, most credit unions are community chartered. How is this not common knowledge? I'm not restricted to my branch ATM. I can move, travel, and still have access to cash because many credit unions participate in shared ATM and branch networks. Like, nearly 30,000 shared ATMs!
Credit Unions are amazing
And lastly, my absolute favorite! THEY ARE DIFFERENT FROM BANKS! For so many amazing reasons! They give back to their communities, volunteer, support charities, and not just for PR purposes, but because it's their mission. They are passionate about their members, their communities, and their world. There is such an opportunity for education here. Not just education on the services you provide, the interest rates you offer, or the products available. Get out there! Ask questions, via social media platforms or at community events. Ask people what the difference between a bank and a credit union is. Find out what they THINK they KNOW, and then show them how incorrect those preconceived notions are. I happened upon the truth, but not everyone will. EDUCATE & CONVERT!