Monday, March 9, 2015

New Research Helps Credit Unions Engage Baby Boomers with Vital Financial Services




CUNA Mutual Group and the Filene Research Institute have released new research examining how credit unions can best serve and connect with baby boomers. Topline results of the study show that while today’s boomers need diverse investment portfolios, wealth protection and financial security, only 10.5 percent say they are actively looking for a financial advisor to discuss retirement planning.


Credit unions can help to fill this gap, and they can use the new research to enhance their marketing efforts targeting baby boomers – a generation numbering more than 75 million people across the U.S., according to AARP.


Commissioned by CUNA Mutual Group, the new study is especially timely because boomers face significant challenges with retirement and finances. More than 60 percent plan to work past age 65 or not retire at all to preserve their income and health benefits. More than half aren’t confident their income and assets will last through retirement. More than half report the same level of debt as they did six years ago. And one-third are financially supporting both an aging parent and a dependent at the same time.

How Credit Unions Can Connect with Boomers


In an effort to help credit unions reach beyond these and other perceived barriers, CUNA Mutual Group and Filene offer the following reflections and research highlights from the study:

    The physical branch is critical with pre-retirees. So is your Web presence. Boomers prefer to be served in person, regardless of the product. This is consistent across loan products (58 percent), investments (55 percent), savings (52 percent) and insurance (51 percent). Following in-person service, they prefer Internet support, then mail and then phone.

    To acquire and retain boomers as customers, understand why they shift their holdings. Boomers will shift their holdings to alternate financial institutions for more convenience (27 percent), better products/rates/fees/returns (20 percent), more confidence/security in your institution (14 percent) and better service (12 percent).


    Timely service is vital to boomers’ satisfaction. So is creating an emotional connection. Boomers view timely service as the most important action a financial institution can take to satisfy their needs, and providing an emotional connection is another satisfaction driver.


    Member referral programs may be the key to connecting with boomers for investments. More than a third of consumers surveyed said a referral from a friend or family member was the most important factor in choosing a financial advisor, more than any other factor. The research suggests credit unions can leverage the personal relationships they have with members and others in their communities to gain investment clients for their businesses.


    Offer products -- and professionals -- that fit boomers’ retirement planning needs. When asked what products they want credit unions to provide, boomers most often cited IRA or Roth IRA (38 percent) and stocks, bonds and mutual funds (34 percent). Credit unions can strengthen their member relationships by offering these investment products. They can also leverage advisors by having them guide members through various financial services, including stable, fixed investments like bonds, and help members build diverse portfolios with the appropriate level of risk.

    The full report, “Baby Boomers & Retirement Planning: Recent Trends and Future Implications for Credit Unions,” is available for download from Filene.