I was recently listening to a presenter discuss Generation Y (Gen Y). The purpose of the presentation was to inform the listeners (financial institutions) of how large this generational segment is and to challenge us to be researching and developing ways to meet their unique needs.
While there are differences of opinion regarding age ranges, for this discussion Gen Y refers to individuals born between 1977 and 2004. By 2015, they will make up 37% of the total U.S. population, exceeding that of the Baby Boomer generation.
What does this mean to a financial institution? It means we have to be bold - redefining service, looking for new ways to communicate and reexamining our products to be sure they are fresh and current with today's mobile lifestyles. As a cooperative, SouthPoint FCU is focused on the financial welfare of our members and the communities we serve. We randomly survey our members every week to see how we deliver services. Regardless of the generation, members appreciate the credit union difference. Let me share with you specifically why our Gen Y members really find value with us.
Gen Y is comfortable online. We have recently launched a series of powerful new online tools:
- Robust website - Full of product information, educational videos, social networking options and links to resources to manage your finances.
- New online banking platform - Virtual Branch (VB). VB is full of new features such as transferring funds between financial institutions and robust electronic alerts to either a computer or a mobile device. You can pay your bills through our electronic bill pay program and even signup to get your account statement electronically instead of via paper.
- Opening accounts online - We have just launched Virtual Apps (VA), our online account opening program. Through VA, you can apply for a loan and communicate securely with your loan officer online about the loan process. Future enhancements to VA include opening deposit accounts and memberships online.
This generation is also mobile, using wireless devices quite frequently and expecting their financial institution to be mobile as well. Here at SouthPoint, we are there.
- Mobile Money - Our new mobile banking interface. It has two platforms for members, one for web enabled smartphones and a second for phones that have texting capabilities. It is truly unique to our marketplace and a huge hit with members. Mobile Money not only acts as your mobile banking platform, but we also have added bill payment to the features that you can do with Mobile Money through a web-enabled phone.
Gen Y members want a multi-channel experience. They get that with us through local branch offices, a virtual branch open 24/7, a network of over 17,000 ATM's nationwide and a call center to communicate via phone, email or webchat when they have a question.
How about social networking? Gen Y is very in touch with these media communities, as they provide personal testimonials of how products work and immediate reactions to good or bad service levels in industries ranging from A to Z. Because you are reading this now, you know SouthPoint has been involved in blogging. We also have a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Sleepy-Eye-MN/SouthPoint-Federal-Credit-Union/160520813406 in which we deliver up to the minute news about SouthPoint and the communities we serve. Two of our employees have Twitter accounts in which they tweet relevant information about the credit union industry, marketing and technology.
2011 will mark 75 years that SouthPoint has been here serving members. Our members give us very high satisfaction ratings, in part because we are focused on remaining in tune with our communities and our members changing needs. If you ever have any encouraging words of advice for us, please visit our website, www.southpointfed.com, and click on the "Tell Us How We Are Doing" link.
Troy Diedrich, VP of Marketing and Development