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Millennials: 3 things to consider for your onboarding program

Keep focus on creating memorable, value-added experiences for your new members.

How would you describe your credit union’s member onboarding experience? If you said anything less than amazing, you’re not alone.

You may be thinking, there’s no time to consider your onboarding strategy right now. You’re focused on navigating these challenging times, being there for your members and figuring out the new normal.

While it’s essential to take care of today, it’s important to remember this will pass — and focus on creating memorable, value-added experiences for your new members. This is also key to your long-term growth.

More than half of Americans are millennials or younger1

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials passed baby boomers as the largest adult generation in the workforce — based on U.S. Census Bureau population estimates as of July 1, 2019.2

Numbering 72.1 million, millennials are defined as those ages 23-38 (in 2019).2 And what older generations considered important is not the same for millennials, especially when it comes to banking and their personal finances. Millennials are financially challenged and aren’t confident in their financial knowledge.

In fact, one study reports that 70 percent of millennial respondents said they need help with their financial planning.3 And according to another study, of 28.4 percent of millennials with undergraduate student-loan debt, 72.2 percent are stressed.4

Consider a segmented onboarding strategy

Your credit union can ensure you’re providing the necessary financial guidance required for each of your member’s individual needs — including millennials — by taking a segmented approach to your onboarding strategy.

When it comes to your members, you know a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for everyone. In marketing, we segment our target markets to provide the most relevant messages to each group. Why not take this same approach to bring added value to your relationship with your millennial members?

Example: Introducing Ben and Carla

Ben and Carla are recently married and just bought a new car from a local dealer who helped them with financing through your credit union. Neither of them knows much about credit unions. They just know they got a competitive interest rate and are excited about driving their new car.

This is your opportunity — consider incorporating these three strategies into your millennial onboarding program and you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful, long-term relationship with Ben and Carla.

Strategy #1: Build trust

The key to creating a long-term relationship with Ben and Carla is trust. Remember, they don’t trust the banking industry. So you must earn it:

  • Put their needs first
  • Be honest
  • Provide exceptional service
  • Be dependable

Start by offering a personal financial consultation.

Today, you might not be able to do this in person, but millennials love technology. Take advantage of all the video conferencing tools available and hold virtual consultations.

Spend time learning and understanding what’s important to them.

Do they have financial goals? If not, help them set up a plan. Ben and Carla really want to travel and the first place they want to visit is New Zealand. Help them create a plan to save so they can get there.

What tools and resources do you offer to help them reach their goal?

Show them how the tools work and how easy it is to save and keep track of the progress they’re making. Ben and Carla are confused about their credit score, how and why it changes and why they should care. What educational materials and tools do you have to help them build their credit?

Don’t forget to share the importance of protecting everything they’ve worked hard for.

As we all know, unforeseen events can happen at any time. Adding credit insurance or debt protection to a personal loan can offer peace of mind in a time when they need it most.

While you’re there for your members, we want to be there for you. When you choose Securian Financial as your credit protection provider, we customize programs and product options that meet your credit union’s specific goals, objectives and member needs.

Strategy #2: Capture relevant information

Does your credit union have a reliable customer relationship management (CRM) system?

This is where you put it to good use. Take advantage of all it has to offer by keeping track of everything you’re learning about Ben and Carla.

You can help build trust here too. Get their permission to capture the information they’re sharing with you and let them know exactly what you’re going to do and not do with it.

Take that information and turn it into actionable insights and personalized messaging.

Work with your marketing and business development teams to determine what kind of member information will help guide the development of future products, services and communications.

Strategy #3: Communicate immediately and regularly

Out of sight out of mind.

Communicate immediately, at regular intervals and through various channels to keep your credit union top of mind. This doesn’t mean inundate Ben and Carla with all your products and services in a daily email. Keep your messages brief, but make them relevant to them. This is where one size does not fit all.

Devise an editorial calendar.

You can build in both high-level and more personalized communications in your editorial calendar. But be careful, there is a fine line. Millennials want personalization, but they don’t want unsettling.

  • Offer additional tips on how to save and how to build credit.
  • Highlight the products and services that are right for Ben and Carla and fit their needs and goals.
  • Since Ben and Carla are tech savvy, focus on your digital tools and resources and use stories to demonstrate how other “like” members are succeeding at their financial plans by using your resources.
  • Share success stories on your social media platforms.

Share stories on what you're doing in the community – invite members to get involved.

Millennials show loyalty to companies that make a difference in the world and their communities. If you’re doing a food drive for the local food shelf, send them an invitation to participate. Do it together.


By segmenting your credit union’s onboarding strategy, you can create a good first impression with new members — which creates the opportunity to build a lasting relationship with them.

Representing the largest generation in our country today1, it’s vital to understand millennials and what’s important to them. Incorporating these three strategies into your millennial onboarding program, you can connect with millennials like Ben and Carla and successfully meet their needs. Plus grow your credit union business over the long term.

Take the next step

Start a conversation to learn more about how we can help you offer valued experiences to your members.

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 1. Fry, William H. "Now more than half of Americans are millennials or younger", Brookings, July 30, 2020.

2. Fry, Richard. "Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation,” Pew Research, April 28, 2020.

3. Jayakumar, Amrita (of NerdWallet). "Millennial Money: Don’t let anxiety rule your finances,”, October 29, 2019.

4. Hoffower, Hillary. “Millennials and Gen X are both stressed, broke, and in debt,” Business Insider, October 10, 2019.


DOFU 9-2021