The Year For Gen Y

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RIVERWOODS, Ill.-Credit unions have a big chance to make 2012 the year of Gen Y outreach, said one observer.

"There's not a lot of loyalty and stickiness yet with Gen Y," said Kevin O'Don-nell, VP of Credit Insurance at Discover Financial Services. "We believe there's a real opportunity for credit unions to develop those product offerings that resonate with that group and commit part of their marketing budget to going after Gen Y."

O'Donnell noted that the institutions that are able to effectively use tools such as mobile channels and social media will be best positioned to capture Gen Y wallet share. But, he cautioned, credit unions must also do that while playing to their strength: "Knowing the local community and playing the role that they have in developing their role as a trusted adviser for a Gen Y consumer."

Beyond just Gen Y, O'Donnell believes credit unions will continue to have the opportunity "to grow their business by adding members and using a consultative cross-selling approach."

He said because CUs offer lower rates and fees on credit cards, they control part of the equation in capturing share, but also "need to do a good review of the debit, credit and pre-paid products that they are offering and make sure that they have good segmentation, so they can make sure they have the right product for the right member."

O'Donnell pointed out that credit and debit cards deliver the most member loyalty, and that rewards programs are a solid strategy for tapping local merchants.

"That can drive the spend, keep the spend in the local community, drive the rewards to the local community and it's a win-win."

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