Is Your Credit Union Bringing in Younger Members Yet?

Credit unions are filled with old people. That’s not a weird dig or hip slang that us younger generations use to insult things. Them’s just the facts.

The average credit union account holder is 10 years older than the average bank account holder. And while it’s great that credit unions attract an uh, more worldly, experienced, and cultured clientele… maybe that’s not a great growth (or survival plan).

So, are you marketing your credit union to younger members? And if yes, is it working?

Younger Generations Don’t Know What a Credit Union Is

Last week, I asked my partner if she knew what credit unions are. She didn’t. She said she thought they were like tiny banks where you can save your money and get debit cards.

I asked a series of questions:

  • Can you take out personal loans at credit unions?
  • Mortgages?
  • Credit cards?
  • High yield savings accounts?

She didn’t think they did any of that. And the Gen Z folks in the college classroom I spoke with last week couldn’t tell me what credit unions are either.

So, if you’ve managed to crack the code—if you’re bringing in younger members—then good on you. But if you haven’t, well, here’s a wild suggestion:

Stop Being Boring

Younger generations will absolutely vibe with the credit union ethos.

Not for profit? Check.

Community focused? Check.

A personal touch? Check.

But you know what they won’t vibe with? The stiff, uptight manner some credit unions carry.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about business casual. Khakis and polos. Toyota Camrys. The sure feeling that the world ten years from now will be the same as the world ten years ago. Dabbling with Facebook in 2019…

But Facebook is boring.

No kidding, if you ask Gen Z if they’re on Facebook, they will be happy to tell you that it’s for old people. That’s what’s at stake here. Social media and being boring.

It’s Not the Platforms, It’s the Attitude

I’ve seen countless articles about how credit unions need to use social media to attract younger members. That’s a fine idea, but it won’t work. At least, not as currently implemented.


Because social media isn’t “where young generations want to be reached.” It’s where they are. But they’re not listening. There are two reasons:

  1. Algorithms have changed to limit the amount of people who see your posts. Your target younger audience won’t even see your social media work most of the time. Social media platforms want you to pay to be seen.
  2. Your posts aren’t interesting. Very few credit unions have the proof to argue otherwise. That’s okay. It’s par for the course for most businesses. Corporate identity and “the brand” must be upheld. I get it.

But if your brand is boring, then people won’t pay attention. If your brand is funny—or at least personable—then people will notice you. They may even decide they like you.

Do you remember when Wendy’s stopped talking about how good their food was and started roasting their competitors? Or when MoonPies figured out how to plug themselves into hilarious, absurdist jokes? Or when Old Spice decided to go over-the-top ridiculous to combat their stuffy reputation?

Well, if you haven’t seen Wendy’s trash talking McDonald’s, go do that now.

But the point is that these brands created meaningful, lasting impressions on their followers. In turn, those impressions became curiosity, interest, and possibly some sales.

And more importantly, those impressions became a sign of personality. See, young folks aren’t loyal to brands—we’re loyal to people.

Risk Something (How to Be Less Boring)

If you want engagement on social media, you have to stop being boring. Us younger generations have grown up with people selling themselves to us. We’re suuuuper good at tuning it out. Promise.

What we under-40s want is the personal connection that credit unions think they offer. We want to see personality. We want to know that there’s a person behind your Instagram, not a brand guidelines book. We can’t see that personality if all you do is share promotional offers and wish us happy holidays.

We can see personality if you use humor, slang, personal stories, sarcasm, joy, or other quirks of humanity. That old piece of dating advice comes to mind: just be yourself. Younger members favor the people behind the brand more than the brand itself.

So sure, you can keep doing what you’re doing. You can avoid ruffling feathers.

You can be safe.

But is it working?

Further Reading

In the next couple months, we’ll start talking a bit more about credit unions and social media. With any luck, we’ll show you how to attract younger members. (Or at least how to help you get noticed by them. No promises after that.)

We might even suggest how you can make using social media easier.

Subscribe to our blog to learn more about how to make your social media work for you. Or follow the links below if you want to see if we’re worth it first.

Oh, but as far as ruffling feathers goes?

Don’t confuse “edgy” with “insulting,” or “bold” with “bigoted.” Us young’ns haaaate that.

How To Use Social Media Effectively For Credit Unions

5 Social Media Tips for Credit Unions

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