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Spotlight: The Forgotten Generation: Overlooked and Underserved

Gen Xers overlooked? Credit unions are committed to becoming the go-to financial partner for members of the generation.
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Dubbed the ‘middle child’ by many, members of Generation X have been largely overlooked and ignored by all industries. This is specifically the case for marketing teams across the financial services industry. Simply existing between the country’s two largest and loudest populations: Baby Boomers and Millennials, when it comes to reaching out, building relationships and securing business there is a lack of service and missed opportunity in regards to Gen Xers. Known for their brand loyalty (even regardless of satisfaction) big banks wrongly assume that customers in this category are content with cookie-cutter financial plans and not interested in exploring better banking alternatives.

With banks treating Gen Xers as secondary business in favor of major money clients and customers from different age groups, credit unions are committed to becoming the go-to financial partner for members of the generation. Too often banks prioritize retirement planning for Baby Boomers and long-term potential for Millennials, which leads to generational disparity. Less publicized is the financial instability experienced by Gen Xers. Providing support for community-centric individuals and family-focused couples, credit unions embrace all of their customers’ realities equally and offer a personalized approach to planning and saving.

As a trusted advocate, the banking alternative specializes in local investment and economic development. Credit unions are prepared to support common life stages and struggles: open to conversation and free of judgment. While professionally established and earning their highest salary to date, Gen Xers simultaneously face costs associated with a number of top priorities such as getting married, purchasing a home, raising a family, saving for their kids’ post-secondary education and taking care of their aging parents. Already tough enough to wrap a wallet around, layer on lingering college debts, increases in cost of living and the lasting impact of the Great Recession. With retirement around the corner, the growing list requires a strong sense of financial literacy and a results-oriented financial partner.

Originally published by Credit Union Times, Amy Hibbard, communications director for Geezeo and proud Gen Xer notes, “We are getting older and we’re seeing that we don’t have the savings that we need, we don’t have the stability that we need in our financial lives and we don’t know how to get there.” By providing banking solutions, along with all traditional banking services, members of Generation X can depend on credit unions to help find a balance between checking off their list and successfully saving for later years. Beyond covering the basics, credit unions work to build trust and shape a personal connection with the people they serve. Understanding that the majority of Gen Xers continue to prefer in-person interaction to digital, the banking alternative offers in-branch workshops and open houses as part of a nation-wide program to inform and educate.

Free of profit margins and sales targets, credit unions are based on a non-for- profit business model. They are member-owned and member-run with shareholders and customers one in the same. And they are accountable to their members. Treating each with equal respect and attention. Working with the mindset: service first, profit second, members receive lower fees, better rates and greater satisfaction. Unlike big banks, credit unions believe in contributing to their communities and strengthening their local economies. But just because they have a different way of thinking doesn’t mean they aren’t safe. Compared to banks, credit unions provide the same type of financial protection (and in some cases even better). While they both ensure eligible deposits up to a maximum of $100 000, the second does so with fewer restrictions and unlimited coverage. As an added bonus, Ontario’s credit unions also cover non- registered deposits up to $100 000. Members can expect this limit to increase to $250 000 in 2018.

According to an article published by Mintel outlining the financial needs of those caught in the middle, “There is plenty of opportunity for financial institutions and
advisors who pay Gen X the attention they deserve: seven in 10 Gen X worry about having enough money to retire comfortably and three in five believe that they need to learn about investing in order to be financially secure.” Described as educated, practical and tech savvy, with the right tools and teachers Gen Xers wish to learn more about accessible banking services and products. Bridging the gap will take time, a genuine interest in helping others and the determination to correct the overarching cynicism of the generation. Credit unions have all of the above.

References:

Overlooked Gen Xers are Gold Mine for Marketers, Credit Union Times

Is the Financial Services Industry Ignoring Gen X?, Mintel

Marketing, Multi-Generational Differences and Credit Unions, 3fold

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