Not Courting Boomers? Then Watch Them Leave

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By now you are aware it is estimated that the Baby Boomers, those born between 1945-65, stand to inherit as much as $10 trillion during the next decade (if they're good). It will mark the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in the history of humankind.

For credit unions, this is going to be a case of good news and potentially troublesome news. It's good news because credit unions don't have to go hunting for Baby Boomers, they're right there in our memberships. But it's potentially troublesome news because credit unions need to plan now for courting this group, or risk watching those potential deposits and relationships go right out the door to providers who have been courting them.

Baby Boomers are going to change many of the assumptions we have about member behavior, aging and retirement. Many will be engaged in "phased" retirement, second careers or continuing in some sort of part time employment beyond the traditional retirement years.

Our Boomer members are also the Sandwich generation as I affectionately prefer to call them since, being one myself, we have tremendous influence on our youth members (being their parents) and our mature members (who are our parents and in-laws). Think of the Life-Time Value of a Boomer Family (see below) presents to the credit union in terms of product and service opportunities.

The Life Time Value of The Boomer Family

Boomers' Kids Boomers Parents of Boomers

Savings Accounts Trusts Long Term Health Care

Education IRA Luxury Car Retirement Living

First Loan Retirement Wealth Mgmt/Trusts

Checking Account Harley, Honda Burial Services

Debit Card RV, SUV Senior Travel Club

Credit Card Boat, Jet Ski Managing Finances

College Loan IRA

Computer Loan Bill Pay

Auto Loan Financial Planning

Wedding Wealth Management

Joint Accounts Second Home/Condo

Furniture Business Loan/Services

Home Purchase Credit Life/Disability Ins

Small Business Loan College Fund

IRA Home Entertainment

Brokerage Account Center

This age-defying generation has a multitude of financial service needs that your credit union should easily become their preferred institution. And since the Boomers will continue to work past their retirement years they present a long-term relationship potential for credit unions, as noted above. New on the horizon to offer this group is the area of wealth management. Boomers will definitely need assistance with the accumulation, preservation and the transfer of their assets.

Suggested Strategies to Reach Boomers

Segment and target your Boomer members using your MCIF/CRM systems. Also, keep abreast of the Boomer local market place for community outreach and marketing initiatives. After you have identified them craft and cluster products to their needs.

Use psychographic approaches when marketing to this group. Boomers are influenced by and respond to cultural nostalgia (the good old days), staying young, fulfilling dreams, safety, travel and adventure, and even NASCAR promotional campaign themes. Relationships are very important to Baby Boomers. The CU brand of trust and personal service is a very powerful attribute to this group. Personal contact and the convenience of the Internet (since Boomers tend to travel) are not to be overlooked when marketing to this group.

Boomers are the generation looking for fulfillment and value-added experiences to their lives. Positioning the credit union as a "one-stop concierge financial service center" to meet their needs will have a huge impact on future business.

Credit unions should strive not only to be a great place to serve boomers' financial needs but also a trusted place that can add value to their current and future lifestyles.

John A. Vardallas, is Founder/CEO of TheAmericanBoomeR, a Madison, Wisconsin based management consulting firm. He can be reached at jvardallas or (608)-221-4621 or via www.

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