by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Connexus : Issue 37
The dilemma facing Brian Bennett and his team at Encompass Credit Union encapsulates one of the biggest challenges for many credit unions and building societies. They have high regard for their older members, but there is an urgent need to bring younger members into the system to complement, and ultimately replace, an ageing membership base. "It's fine [in one respect] because an ageing membership gives you members who are retiring and have some deposits to put with a credit union," says Bennett, the CEO at Sydney-based Encompass, which has historically served rail, bus and ferry employees. "But, at the same time, they are not borrowing money." Pre-retirees or retirees rarely require a home or car loan, so the emphasis must be on luring younger members who want lending products. Attracting younger members, says Bennett, is critical for the survival of Encompass and the entire industry. The unpopularity of the major banks gives mutuals an opening to zero in on new customers, young and old. Bad reviews of the banks keep coming in. Figures from Roy Morgan Research showed that the Commonwealth Bank's satisfaction rating slipped to 72.7 per cent following its controversial move last November to lift its standard mortgage rate over the cash rate announced by the Reserve Bank, putting it in third spot behind ANZ and NAB. Most of the major banks' satisfaction rates fell in that survey. A Finance Sector Union survey last year of 2,744 customers also revealed high levels of dissatisfaction with the big banks. But mutuals can't simply rely on this factor to win new customers. Encompass, for one, is not being complacent as it seeks to create relationships with people who may be banking for the first time. It is supporting and financing a website, www.regretnothing.com.au, which promotes financial literacy for younger people. Featuring social media tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter, it is essentially a pilot for future action. Bennett says the site reflects the reality that generations Y and Z, and even older bankers, will increasingly want to do their banking online or on mobile phones. Underlining the point, Encompass a couple of years ago introduced an online savings account that has "gone gangbusters". It has also embraced initiatives such as internet banking terminals in branches, where people can log on to pay bills, as part of a shift away from using cheques. Investment in such technologies may stretch the budgets of smaller credit unions, says Bennett, but there's no option. "It's very daunting, but that's what the people want." ung ones FEATURE 25 www.abacus.org.au Connexus GEN NEXT n Ageing memberships are putting pressure on mutuals to woo younger customers. n It's a tough task, especially because many young people don't know about mutuals. n Flexible technology solutions, including online loan applications and aids to financial literacy, are musts for the future. BRIEFLY