Why start a Young Professionals group?

The day I found the inspiration for my project is a day I won’t forget. After attending my first Boot Camp made possible by the Wisconsin Credit Union League’s Young Professional Network this past fall, I knew I had to share this inspiration and passion with others. I wanted them to feel the way I did. My vision for a Royal YP team was so clear, and I knew that because I was able to see it, taste it, feel it, and most importantly I believed it! 

In the midst of getting my project underway, we had the opportunity at Royal Credit Union to host our own League Boot Camp this past March. More than 70 young professionals from 22 different credit unions joined us in Eau Claire to explore, network, and share ways our credit unions can do community outreach creatively and strategically. Watch our lunch - Cash Mob style

Credit Union Challenges

You see… I believe we have two major challenges within the credit union industry right now. These two challenges may result in you not having a future in the credit union industry, and me not having a future career in the credit union industry. You might be sitting there wondering to yourself what exactly these two major challenges that could affect the future of our industry might be.

  1. Aging members
  2. Aging credit union leaders

We have to make changes now to ensure our future. Now is the time to take action and believe in your staff to change all of this, right? Yes, many of us are already recognizing this, but what are we doing about it? If your answer is “nothing yet,” unfortunately you may be too late. 

Royal YP to the Rescue

We have 550 team members here at Royal, and my project focuses on the 228 of us that are 35 years and younger. If you think about it, that is nearly half! How many employees at your credit union are 35 and younger? Are you taking the time needed to engage and retain your young talent? If you’re not and want to, I can help because I am committed to giving our leaders of tomorrow the development and leadership opportunities they need to succeed in our industry.

While focusing on our internal team members’ development, we are also attracting our peers outside of the credit union industry by advocating the credit union difference. A key initiative here at Royal is to reach younger members by offering financial education and having specific products and services based on this age demographics’ needs. 

According to the CUNA 2012-2013 National Member and Nonmember Survey Report, 71% of young nonmembers ages 18-24 are “not at all familiar” or “not very familiar” with credit unions. WOW! 71%?! I think everyone in the credit union industry would agree that this is a major problem. Especially when we are so good, right? We are! We are great! But, if nobody knows anything about us or what credit unions even are, we are obviously missing the boat here. The majority of what those young non-members know they learn from their parents and peers. Our Royal YP team is made up of “their” peers. We are their friends, the people they trust and they ultimately just want a financial institution they can trust.

The Future is Bright

We kicked off our Royal YP team with seven members. By our first monthly get-together in June we had 36 members and grew to 48 members in July. The majority of our members are actively participating. Feel free to take a look at our first meeting here. Momentum is growing, and everyone involved is genuinely excited to be a part of the young credit union movement. We are excited to see the bigger picture and are passionate about making a difference within our industry and within the financial lives of our peers. 

If you want to make a difference at your credit union consider starting your own young professionals team. I’m ready, willing, and happy to show you the way!