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CU Perceptions: The Legacy Effect & Promotions

This is the eighth article in the series CU Perceptions, which explores how consumers perceive credit unions in Missouri.

We held focus groups in four cities (Columbia/Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis) and conducted an online survey to gauge credit union perceptions among 18-30 year-olds. Our facilitators noticed trends across all regions and pointed out the following key findings:

The Legacy Effect - Many of the respondents said they didn't actually choose their financial institution... their parents did! The idea that checking accounts are handed down from one generation to another is a very common theme among Missourians. Now that we know a lot of 18-30 year-olds are comfortable using the same institution as their parents, what are you doing to make sure that you're penetrating all levels of the household? How strong are your kids' club accounts? Do you send personalized mail to young family members or do you have special incentives to engage teenagers and Millennials? Are you setting up accounts for new and expectant mothers?

Promotions - Participants noted that promotions such as receiving free money for signing up at a credit union and special deals for students might impact their decision to join. We learned from our focus groups that this age group likes to be acknowledged for their efforts. If they're going to make the switch, they'd like to be rewarded for doing so. Even if the prize is a one-time gift, or if the special rate/discount/freebie expires after one year, it's enough to make them interested. Keep the idea of promotions in mind when you interact in the community and engage nonmembers. 

It's important to note that across the board, more than half (56%) of survey participants indicated they might be interested in switching financial institutions if they found one that appealed to them more. However, credit union members are less likely to be swayed, as 32% indicated they are not interested versus 20% of bank users who indicated no interest in switching.