Developing the Right Strategy to Engage Millennials

By: April Lewis-Parks, Director of Education and Corporate Communications, KOFE.

Millennials (generally defined as age 18 to 34) are quickly becoming the largest consumer segment in the U.S. They outnumber baby boomers by 11 people. However, despite their numbers, Millennials struggle to achieve financial independence. They are among the least likely to engage with traditional financial products and services. So, what can credit unions do to bring this generation into the financial fold?

The financial experts at KOFE: Knowledge of Financial Education captured this dilemma in a new infographic, “Millennial Money: Banking and Credit Fear.” As you can see, it details the challenges facing credit unions that are eager to engage America’s largest consumer segment.

The biggest roadblock to millennial product engagement is the inherent mistrust of financial institutions. Many believe big banks played the largest role in causing the Great Recession, and they don’t have the knowledge to differentiate those organizations from smarter alternatives, like credit unions. As a result, they lack an understanding of how traditional financial products improve their ability to manage money effectively.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with millennials use of basic checking accounts. Nearly one in four millennials say they will never open a bank account. However, more than half that number say it’s because they don’t have enough money to keep the account open. That points to a lack of knowledge about accounts that offer no minimum balance requirement and protections to avoid overdrafts.

Education is often the key to fostering more engagement. By increasing awareness of credit unions’ member-centric culture and educating consumers on the benefits offered by traditional financial products, credit unions can overcome millennials’ reticence.

This is the driving principle that led the certified credit counselors of Consolidated Credit to create KOFE, developing an out-the-box platform that can be used by partners, such as credit unions, to educate unbanked and underbanked individuals, particularly millennials. Using a third-party platform allows credit unions to engage in effective outreach, without diverting revenue into developing in-house education systems.

For an in-depth conversation about how to use financial education to capture your members’ attention watch KOFE’s webinar on demand now.

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KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education) is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Financial Literacy. More educational resources and contact information are available at www.nafcu.org/KOFE.

 

Equifax Data Breach: What to do now to Safeguard Your Information and Avoid Being Scammed

By: April Lewis-Parks, Director of Education and Corporate Communications, KOFE

The latest big data breach has been reported all over the news and you might be wondering what to do or how it may affect you.

Equifax has been breached and it’s said that 143 million U.S. consumers could be affected.  Cybercrime is becoming more prolific and you need to protect yourself.  We strongly suggest that you consider freezing your credit as a precaution.  Contact each of the credit reporting agencies individually. Their contact information is:

Equifax — 1-800-349-9960 or https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Experian — 1-888-397-3742 or https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872 or https://www.transunion.com/freeze

You’ll have to provide your personal information and pay a small fee, except from Equifax who is providing the freeze for free since they were breached.

After they receive your freeze request, each agency will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place as you will need it if you choose to lift the freeze, for example, to refinance your mortgage or take out an auto loan, etc.

By freezing your credit, you will block anyone from accessing your credit, which should prevent thieves from taking out credit cards in your name.

Freezing your credit will not prevent all identity theft.  You may also want to consider subscribing to a trusted company that specializes in protecting identity. For example, LifeLock is currently offering a 10% discount in addition to a 30 day trial on their Identity Protection products.

Precaution is the best way to approach these uncertain times and it is important to take control of what you can.

And be wary of scams connected to the Equifax breach.  People have been calling consumers trying to trick them into giving them their personal information. Here are tips for recognizing imposter scams and things to do if you are called:

  • Don’t give out personal information. Don’t provide any personal or financial information unless you have initiated the call and it’s a phone number you know is correct.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can spoof their numbers so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, even when they’re not.
  • If you get a robocall, hang up. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
  • If you’ve already received a call that you think is fake, report it to the FTC.

The KOFE financial wellness portal has additional information to help you prevent identity theft and learn how to protect yourself.  www.kofetime.com

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KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education) is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Financial Literacy. More educational resources and contact information are available at www.nafcu.org/KOFE.