Building Trust And Loyalty With Young Members

You have a speedometer in your car, but you speed anyways. Then you see the signs the police set up. The one that flashes your speed and has the big speed limit sign above it. You slow down. 

This is the essence of the Check It & Text It program. We use our debit card and we keep spending. Sometimes never realizing how much work it took for us to earn those hard-earned dollars. This happens regularly, but do we want our youth to grow up without the foresight of the value of the dollar? 

Teens will receive their first debit card and at the end of each week, they will receive a text saying how much they spent and how many hours they would have to work at minimum wage to make that amount back. Maybe the Coach® purse wasn't worth the eighteen hours I had to work to purchase it. The parents receive an email with the same information. This spurs open conversations at home about money management, but we'll also be checking in and guiding the teen and parents along the way. 

With our next core update, we will begin testing. A few employees volunteered right away, as they wanted to know what their teens were spending. They also were anxious to see their teens' faces when they saw how much they had to work to earn that money back. It's a tough realization as teens get older. It's even tougher on the parents. 

I'm sure many of us can relate to the days that we would beg our parents for a pair of sneakers that would cost our parents $100. We would ask for these things not realizing how hard it is for a parent to say "no" to their child and not realizing that for a parent earning $40,000 per year before taxes, they would have to work nearly seven hours just to pay for those shoes. 

What does this mean for the credit union and how does it tie to our goals? 

  • We need to decrease the average age of our members. 
  • We need more loans and teens will soon be in their prime borrowing years. 
  • We need to show teens that we have the technology they want, but we also care about social good.
  • We need to grow for better economies of scale. 

The current teen generation is ingrained in social good causes. They want more than the products, services and technologies they expect from us; it isn't enough to keep them loyal to us. Companies that have identified their values and have tied those to social good, have extremely loyal followers that will pay more for their products (Starbucks and Toms). We've identified our values and mission at our credit union and that is to leave every member in a better financial position than when we met them. 

By showing teens how to get started off on the right path and that we want to contribute to financial literacy efforts and awareness within our communities by donating to these causes through our debit card program, we're creating something bigger than a product or service. We're creating our core cause and showing our values. 

When we engage these teens early and show them our core values, they will be loyal, and they will refer us. Studies have shown that Millennials are much more likely to drive referrals. Our teen accounts will grow, they will stay loyal because of our focus on values that they can relate to, they will reach prime borrowing years, start borrowing and increase our loan growth. And through all of this, our assets will grow. This isn't just going to attract teens; this is going to attract people that are drawn to organizations for what they stand for. 

This will become more than what I'll be able to accomplish during this competition. I want to extend this to our credit cards, to help teens build their credit early and responsibly so that they can take out student loans and their first auto loan without their parents being co-signers. The personal relationship that will be built with our staff and each teen during this program will help build trust and loyalty with that teen so that they call us for future financial help. And at the end of the day, that's what this program is about, to leave members in a better financial position than when we met them.

Danielle Frawley