eBrief: Give Students What They Want

Leverage the opportunities in your scholastic market to connect with a younger membership.


Attracting Gen Y membership is on the industry’s radar. School-specific branding offers credit unions one way to enhance outreach efforts, and some credit unions have used a campus-focused identity to engage younger members.

Blackhawk Community Credit Union ($318.9M, Janesville, WI) partnered with two local high schools last fall to open student-run branches. Cougar Credit Union at Craig High School and Viking Student Credit Union at Parker High School are joint ventures between the schools and BCCU. Each credit union has its own unique identity; the students even create their own taglines.

“Viking chose ‘Navigating Your Way to Financial Success,’” says Donna Wagner, chief marketing officer for BCCU.

BCCU wanted to introduce the students to the financial cooperative model and promote financial education. The credit union is pleased with the first-year results and looks forward to building on the students’ enthusiasm next year – incorporating more of their ideas into BCCU’s youth programs.

“It has been very important for the students to have their own brand,” Wagner says. “They own it and are excited to get their fellow students involved.” 

The students are identifying new ways to engage their classmates and are truly embracing the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.” Viking Student Credit Union, for example, sponsored a campaign benefitting Viking Closet, a school organization that provides essential items such as clothes, toiletries, school supplies, and bus tokens to students affected by the economic downturn.

Now that is attractive brand recognition.