NORTHFIELD, N.J.-Credit unions need to focus their efforts in 2013 on bringing younger people into the CU-and not just as members.
"The old credit union model was to get into the credit union industry and stay there for 30 years," remarked Bill Kennedy, CFO at Jersey Shore FCU and a member of the executive committee for the CUNA CFO Council. "The thing that I'm seeing that I love, even though I'm an old fart, is that there's a significant effort to attract younger people to come to work for credit unions. You can't have 70-year-old people making decisions for 25-year-old people. It just doesn't work. So I see credit unions making a real concentrated effort to attract younger people and get them in, and those younger people can make the ideas, consult and help the organization grow."
Gen X and Gen Y members have a different career forecast than their parents and some futurists have forecast they may be involved in as many six careers during their lives, rather than just one or two. Kennedy said that's something CUs should embrace.
"The more experiences you have, the more you can bring to the table, as long as you've learned from those experiences," he said. "I'm a big advocate of having people that have had wonderful experiences-and they don't have to be in credit unions. Bring that insight into the business model."
Kennedy added that he's never been one who believed in the mindset that institutions don't get any value from an employee until the person has been there for five to seven years.
"You need to attract a different kind of person who can wear many hats and has a wide breadth of experience," he said. "As a leader, I've always believed that I don't want to have anybody on my team that has the exact same experience as me, because I look at that as a redundancy, and I don't need that. I need people that can add value with a different perspective."