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How Credit Unions Can Connect with Boomers
Friday, August 21, 2015 6:30 AM

Research from CUNA Mutual Group and the Filene Research Institute (“Baby Boomers & Retirement Planning,” January 2015) examines how credit unions can best serve and connect with Baby Boomers who face significant challenges with retirement and finances. 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.

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, 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 and emotional connection Is vital to boomers’ satisfaction.
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.

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

“Baby Boomers & Retirement Planning: Recent Trends and Future Implications for Credit Unions,” is available for Filene members to download at