Several years ago when I was having a routine physical with my doctor we were visiting about what I did for a living. At the time I worked for Dallas Postal Credit Union (now Neighborhood Credit Union). His eyes lit up when I told him. “Your credit union has the friendliest service in Dallas,” he said. He proceeded to tell me that his dad was a letter carrier and his parents had their financial accounts with our credit union. When his father passed away, my doctor came to our credit union to handle his parents’ affairs. That’s when he received our credit union’s great member service.5generations100

But then I asked the telling question, “Did you keep the accounts and money with us?”

“Oh—no,” he said. “I took all the money to my bank.”

Ouch. We blew it. But we didn’t blow it when the doctor came in (note he had a wonderful experience). We blew it years earlier when we failed to establish a relationship with our member’s child (in this case, my doctor).

We often talk about the differences between the various generations (Matures, Boomers, Xers, Gen. Y) and that is all well and good. However, one thing credit unions should focus on is actually bridging the generations. This means linking the generations together.

Credit unions can do this through intergenerational opportunities. Some examples include the following:

  • Design a loan referral program. For example, if a Mature member gives you three loan referrals (from their family members) then you increase the Mature members’ CD by 25 or 50 basis points.
  • If you have kids club events encourage grandparents to bring their grandchildren to the event; include activities that encourage interaction and building memories with the families. For example, do some type of photo shoot where you take pictures of the grandparent with the grandchild.
  • Develop a financial planning workshop specifically covering the transfer of wealth issue. Design the seminar so that it is created for how Mature members can best pass their assets down to the other generations. Make it an event for all generations (not just Matures).
  • Offer a special Family CD product. With this type of deposit, encourage grandparents to open a CD in their grandchildren’s name at the credit union. Include special rates if the parents have a checking or loan product.
  • Offer relationship pricing packages with the entire family. Most credit unions are doing some type of relationship pricing for the household (mom, dad and the kids). However, in this approach you give deals and discounts not just to the household but to all members of the family (grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, brother, sister, etc.) regardless of where they live.

Generational marketing is an extremely successful strategy. Looking for ways to bring the generations together at your credit union is one of the best methods to employ.

What ideas do you have for bridging the generations?

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