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Connexus : Issue 37
engagement is putting the heat on banks. It says service expectations, interest in mobile and online banking, and the need for more financial advice are all top-of- mind with customers. The study shows customers want more digital banking features, but don't want to pay higher fees for the privilege. At Big Sky, Ryan acknowledges the banking environment has changed, especially among younger members who have a very different approach to money. They are in a hurry. They are ambitious. They are prepared to take credit risk. He says he saved money to pay for his first car outright, but gen Ys are more than happy to take on finance. "You'll see them, for example, in property investment at a very young age." The comment is more an observation than a criticism, and Ryan says it's up to financial institutions to meet such needs responsibly. On that score, he believes mutuals have an important role to play in improving the financial literacy of younger people. "Financial literacy is really important because you don't want people blindly getting into situations where they might find they can't afford things such as credit," says Ryan. Lamont says the notion that younger generations have different banking expectations and requirements is very real. "Young people do behave very differently to previous generations. Traditional concepts like having lots of bank branches, great customer service, that type of thing, really isn't that important to young people." The big test for mutuals, she says, is convincing gen Y and Z that mutuals can deliver what they want. That means high- interest savings accounts to fund their next overseas holiday, balance transfer credit cards to fund their next shopping trip, and great technology solutions. The latter element is especially crucial. "Young people have incredibly high Winning echidna Big Sky Credit Union has shown that it's possible for the little guys to beat the banks. On the back of its e-Kids program to educate school children about money and banking, it has usurped the Commonwealth Bank's Dollarmites program in a school at Moranbah, Queensland. The concept, featuring Eddy the Echidna, is designed to attract the interest of parents as well as children. "All good parents will want their kids to have some financial literacy," says Big Sky CEO Tony Ryan. "Kids need to understand money and how it works." This presents an opportunity to engage with children at a young age, he says. "Hopefully we develop a relationship with them that is sustainable as they get older and become employed." Big Sky has put more resources into the program in recent years. "The children are our future employees, and they'll also be looking for banking arrangements, so we want to be front-of-mind when that happens." GEN NEXT Connexus 31 www.abacus.org.au FEATURE MARK MCCRINDLE ON BRAND: "Brand does matter, but it's not just the corporate brand or the overall brand with which young people engage now. It's sometimes the microbrands -- the little website set up to equip them with some financial literacy skills, or a user-generated website or a social media website they have set up, which starts to build some rapport and connection with the broader credit union brands."