BOULDER CITY, Nev. — While most credit unions say they would like to attract younger members, Boulder Dam CU reports a remarkable 85% penetration of 18-to-29 year olds in its field of membership.
So how did this $507 million institution, which serves a small community southeast of Las Vegas, do it?
One big reason: a commitment to youth financial education that has grown into a program known as "Understanding Your Money," or UYM.
Dr. Brandi Stankovic, partner at Las Vegas-based CU consultancy Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, has been part of Boulder Dam CU for a long time. She opened her first "Moola-Moola" account in 1989. Today, she is a member, consultant and acting senior executive of human resources. (The CU's moniker hearkens back to the original name of what is now known as the Hoover Dam.)
In 2003, BDCU asked Stankovic to help create a financial literacy program to reach high school-aged youth in the community. The board of directors and executive team offered an incentive of $100 to seniors and $50 to juniors to take the 3-hour class.
The first UYM program was based on the principles other credit unions were teaching their members: checking, credit and savings. When Stankovic taught the first class she was just a few years older than the high school attendees.
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By Brandi Stankovic
Partner, Mitchell Stankovic & Associateshttp://wecu2.org/2015/02/23/bdcu-understanding-your-money/
Boulder Dam Credit Union is $500 million financial institution with 20,000 members and just under 45 employees. Snuggled in the heart of small town Boulder City, NV this community credit union serves businesses, families and generations of people stemming from the building of Hoover Dam.
BDCU exemplifies the “member for life” concept by maintaining relationships with members starting at a very young age and continuing throughout their various life stages and transitions. Meeting member needs with exceptional service is not only BDCU’s philosophy, it is a must for survival. Penetration rates and cross-selling take on a new meaning when the field of membership potential is controlled and actually lower than the current membership totals.
At the core of the BDCU business model? Not payment innovation. Not non-interest income. Not social media or mobile strategy. Although they enthusiastically participate in all of these areas. The core of BDCU’s business is trust. The credit union believes that without trust all innovative technological touch-points or dividend-based incentives are null.
How do you build trust with the youth in a world of super-saturated financial choice? We believe the answer is Commitment and Authenticity. And with over 85% penetration of the millennial demographic (ages 18-29) in the field of membership, we are celebrating success.
I grew up with Boulder Dam Credit Union, opening my first Moola-Moola account in 1989. So in 2003, when the credit union asked me to help create a financial literacy program to reach the high schoolers in the community, I was thrilled! Jaron Singleton, long-time credit union employee and childhood friend, joined the cause. The board of directors and executive team decided to make this program special from the start, offering $100 to seniors and $50 to juniors to certify in the 3-hour class.
We built the first “Understanding Your Money” (UYM) program based on the principles credit unions were teaching their members across the US: Checking, Credit, and Savings. When I taught the first class of UYM, I was barely older than the high school attendees. My younger brother’s friends heckled me from the back of the room. And although the students learned, we didn’t change their lives.
Teaching financial basics was not enough.