Banks vs. Credit Unions from

Reach the 16-25 year old demographic using their primary mode of communication, the online channel, and fun, humorous streaming videos produced by


The fundamental question that credit unions grapple with today is:

What is the difference between a credit union and a bank?

The line separating credit unions from banks continues to blur. Increasingly, banks are positioning themselves as community oriented and socially conscious financial institutions. In Generation Why? Why Today’s Youth Should Be Today’s Members, Paris Ward discussed the issue of one bank appealing to the 16-25 year old demographic by emphasizing its mission statement of “people, planet, and profit” through community redevelopment.

How then may credit unions distinguish themselves from banks to this age group? One exciting way to reach these young adults is through their primary mode of communication – the online channel. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, young Americans, in particular, are familiar with streaming video – specifically About 70% of the site’s registrants are American and about 50% of them are under 20 years of age. Belonging to this generation, I am a living example of these numbers, receiving daily emails from friends and family about the latest humorous videos posted on the web.

Therefore, using streaming video, whether it be posted on or elsewhere, to convey a message, such as the difference between credit unions and banks, is a familiar way for this group to understand the message.

One way a credit union could easily capitalize on this opportunity is to include a link to on its website. has created several short parodies of the now famous “Mac vs. PC” commercials, each of their episodes addressing a specific difference between banks and credit unions. You might wonder, “Why would a simple link like this promote my credit union image?”

Because the response from some of my peers has been:
1. “Wow, credit unions are cool.”
2. “Oh, that’s the difference!”
3. “Maybe I should join one of those…”

One example of a banner a credit union could post on their site.

Explaining the difference in their language and using a medium they’re already familiar with is an innovative and creative way to communicate why a young person should join a credit union.

Learn more about how to reach the 16-25 year old demographic at the upcoming webinar, 3 Rs: Recruiting, Reaching, and Retaining Younger Members hosted by Callahan & Associates.




Jan. 29, 2007


  • Why not educate the youth that financing something that depreciates 50 percent in three years is stupid. You lease what depreciates you own what appreciates. Look at what the wealthy do if you want to become wealthy. Buy land, commodities, etc.... I don''t hear any talk that Credit Unions are protected by a right of off set. Their members are borrowing against their own savings and checking. If you want to finance then finance with a bank at the same rate a credit union offers and use the car as collateral, not your checking and savings. Financing a Car is the equivalent of asking your broker to sell you stock that you know is going to lose half it''s value. With all this jibberish propaganda infiltrating our youth, no wonder Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Most factory leases today have money factors with an equivalent apr''s of 1 to 4 percent. However, young buyers are being force fed this garbage by Credit Unions because they have no financial sense of how to manage or make money. Buy things that appreciate lease what depreciates. A quote from J Paul Getty, I think he did okay for himself.
  • Playing off a more mainstream competition really brings this message home. Wonder how else credit unions can use common rivalries to make the CU difference clearer...
  • I wonder which is more important-that the credit union sympathizers are "trying too hard" to be cool or that they are trying at all? This idea may be flawed but isn't it a good thing that they are at least attempting to use new technology that reaches at least some "young" people? I'm interested in how the person who wrte the second comment would prefer to see credit unions reach them.
  • Are you sure this is somebody "belonging to this generation"? It sure sounds like somebody from the corporate office trying very hard to sound like somebody 16-25 years old. And do 16-25 year olds have "peers"? Nice try. Love the ads though, can't wait for more.
  • re: #4 Are you an iodit? I work for a credit union and members do not borrow against there savings and checking, we do home loans and comsumer loans just like the big banks, the only difference is we treat the members better than bank, and rates are usally lower with no hidden costs (you know what I mean). So do your homework before you trash talk an financial instution.
    Credit Union Worker