Ases & Gucs Business Case Competition: A millennial perspective on credit unions

Created by
Laura Hillhouse
February 1, 2019

Soar was recently invited to the University of Glasgow Business Case Competition and asked to provide the case for a group of talented students to compete in an all-day challenge. With limited research and preparation time, it was a hard task to complete but all of the students achieved it with a great level of ease and professionalism.

Our case required the students to think about entry into international markets and potential marketing and pricing strategies to go along with it. This was a great opportunity for us to hear feedback on our future development plans, but it also gave us access to a bunch of millennial minds. It was interesting to hear what this group of millennials perceived credit unions to be.

So, what did we learn from them?

Firstly, very few students were educated on credit unions and what it is that they offer. In breakout sessions before the final presentations, we heard from students who had no idea what a credit union was.We also discovered that many of them didn’t know the definition of a credit union before this case was presented to them. Our initial thoughts were that this generation was not well informed on the market and that credit union services had clearly never been promoted to them.

“I'm not in a position to save.”

This was heard from many students throughout the day. This was mostly from those who knew they could join a credit union but being a student, they were not able to save much money each month. Many worked part-time and some studying more intense degrees didn’t have time to work at all. This portrayed a gap in the education provided to potential members in this age group. To them, a credit union is all about saving and they didn’t realise they had access to other services.

“My credit union isn’t very accessible.”

Another point raised from the students was that since they live away from home, they are not able to access the services that their credit union could provide them with. Many students move away for university and aren’t able to travel to branches to access their accounts or make loan applications. This isn’t feasible for them so there is no valid reason for them to join. If they are going to be living away from home for a prolonged period of time, then they need access to technology that will allow them to manage their credit union accounts.

Access to information is limited

Throughout many of the presentations, we heard that students found it difficult to find out information about UK credit unions. They were not impressed with current marketing strategies, highlighting a lack of social media usage and out of date websites. Credit unions that didn’t utilise social media channels or have well designed and up to date sites were not perceived to be as credible in their eyes.

More needs to be done to reach the millennial generation

With little financial education provided and marketing targeted towards them, it’s unsurprising that these students weren’t part of a credit union. To them, they didn’t think it was a logical thing to do as they can’t save, and have limited access to their branch. A general consensus was formed amongst the students and that was that to them, a credit union was not a financial institution for their generation. However, if more was done to convince them that it would be beneficial and they knew what it could provide them with, then this would be a different story.

Overall, it’s clear that there is a lack of focus on attracting this generation. Something to consider is that a lot of young people are targeted by credit unions when they are of primary school age but are lost when they get to high school and university as this education is not continued. If more is done to market credit union services towards millennials, then they will perhaps be given more reasons to join.

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