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Growing Investments Means Embracing Gen X, Gen Y Now

Feb 20, 2014 by Lewis Wood

CBSI’s FOCUS Attendees Told to Engage Younger Generations, or Else Risk Depleting Future Investor Pipeline

From CUNA Mutual Group Public Relations                                                                                            

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Jess Noelck
Rick Uhlmann

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Members in Their ‘Future’ and ‘Peak’ Borrowing Years (Source: CUNA’s National Member Survey Results from 1989 to 2013)

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Percent of Savings and Investments Held with Primary Bank by Generation (Source: “Bank on It! Opportunities with Today’s Bank Customer,” LIMRA, 2012)

ST. LOUIS – A tremendous amount of wealth is going to change hands through inheritance in the next 10 years, and the indicators are not good that credit unions will retain this wealth unless they start actively engaging Generation X and Generation Y now, attendees of CUNA Brokerage Service, Inc.’s (CBSI) FOCUS Conference were told Monday.

David Polet, CUNA Mutual Group’s Voice of Customer director, and Gary Weuve, CBSI’s Center for Advisor Excellence vice president and author of “Close More Sales in Financial Institutions: 12 Keys to Success,” told a FOCUS advisor workshop session that credit unions have been steadily losing younger people, so the pipeline for their future personal investments is getting smaller while the competition for their money is greater.

“Research shows 71 percent of 18-24 year olds have little to no knowledge of credit unions,” said Polet, “and that’s a problem because this generation will be critically important to the future of your credit union in the years to come.”

Thirty-trillion dollars will be transferred to Gen X and Gen Y from Baby Boomers during the next 30 to 40 years, making it an even larger wealth transfer than prior generations, according to Accenture’s “The ‘Great’ Wealth Transfer” 2012 white paper.

“Seize this opportunity. Encourage current clients to bring their kids into the discussion regarding inheritance,” said Weuve. “This will help create awareness, and establish an opportunity to become the advisor of choice when the wealth transfer is ready to occur.”

Polet told attendees that despite common myths Gen Y is not a collection of lazy, narcissistic, self-promoting whiners; instead, they are hard-working, creative, collaborative people with a high awareness, and interest in engaging in financial management.

“The impacts of the dotcom bubble and great recession have scarred them, and made them much more skittish about investing,” said Polet. “However, Gen Y and Gen X are highly open to seeking advice, and are much more likely to get that from their credit union, or primary financial institution, than older credit union members.”

Seventy-eight percent of Gen X and Gen Y who worked with an advisor contributed to a retirement plan as opposed to only 43 percent who did not work with an advisor (Source:  “LIMRA: Top 5 Ways Gen X and Y Consumers Can Improve Their Chances for a Secure Retirement”, April 18, 2013).

Polet and Weuve encouraged credit unions to begin building relationships with Gen X and Y by providing services, not just new technologies, that appeal to how Gen Y thinks about finances since 71 percent of Gen Y will set-up a retirement account before age 26, and 60 percent plan to open a college fund at the birth of each of their children (Source: CUNA Mutual Group’s “Be in the Moments,” 2013).

“The most important thing is just start creating awareness and opportunities to bring Gen Y and Gen X into the investing fold,” said Weuve. “Start by offering them life insurance. They’ll be open to it, and it gets them in the door.”

At Teachers Credit Union in South Bend, Ind., they’re doing just that. “We’re creating awareness amongst Gen X and Gen Y by embracing social media and email marketing,” said Waylon Peterson, president of wealth management at Teachers Credit Union and member of CBSI’s credit union advisory panel.

“We’re focused on building relationships with the beneficiaries of our current investment members through direct mail, reviews, and seminars, and we are developing a specific marketing plan using CBSI’s MEMBERS InScope data to find those Gen X and Gen Y members who have a propensity to buy our services,” said Peterson. “At Teachers, we’ve embraced this generation shift, and I would encourage others to do so, too.”

The “FOCUS 2014” Conference featured 26 advisor workshop sessions designed to deliver motivation, knowledge and best practices to best fit the business and individual needs of the advisor. More than 500 financial advisors and executives from credit unions across the country participated in CBSI’s annual conference aimed at enhancing advisors’ ability to serve members, and recognizing programs and individuals for their performance.

Participants in the four-day event included advisors, Program Managers, Program Champions, and other credit union executives. The event is CBSI’s annual meeting where participants are updated on new technology, marketing and training enhancements planned for the upcoming year.

About CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.:

CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI) provides Broker Dealer services to credit unions throughout the nation, offering a full range of investment and insurance products to help credit unions help their members reach a more secure financial position.

CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., an affiliate of CUNA Mutual Group, is the leading broker/dealer serving the credit union marketplace. CBSI has more than 250 credit union programs, 400 active advisors, with more than $3 billion in mutual fund, annuity and managed account sales, and more than $140 million in annual revenue. In 2013, CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. paid credit unions more than $65 million in fee revenue.

About CUNA Mutual Group:

CUNA Mutual Group was founded in 1935 by credit union pioneers, and our commitment to their vision continues today. We offer insurance and protection for credit unions, employees and members; lending solutions and marketing programs; TruStage™ – branded consumer insurance products; and investment and retirement services to help our customers succeed. More information is available on the company’s website at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.


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