What story are you telling to your bank or credit union customers? Checking with benefits. Low-rate loans. Low-interest credit cards… these aren't stories - they're clichéd selling points.

Millennials more than any generation before them value what an organization or business stands for and what story they're telling, rather than selling. So how are you speaking to your Gen-Y consumers? Honesty is the best policy.

The job market

The key factor in telling the millennial financial story is honesty. Don't be afraid to talk to this generation where it's at, which, on the younger end, includes a large amount of financial struggle and joblessness. Adults younger than 30 have had a particularly tough time finding steady employment of late, so keep that in mind as you market to your younger audience.

Try it: Tailor some of your marketing toward college grads who may not be prepared just yet to jump into the home loan or retirement account pool. Market entry-level financial tools, such as free checking and low-yield savings accounts to get your foot in the door for later, when they've landed their dream jobs and are ready to increase their deposit levels.

Spending habits

Younger millennials are also very different retail consumers than even older members of their own generation. They have much more of a tendency toward specialty shops, e-commerce and thrift retailers. They also value retailers that are honest and show their true selves—they pride themselves on buying from those that are authentic and straightforward. Their available spending cash is minimal, so they want to feel good about where they place it. 

Try it: Don't miss an opportunity to tell your story in the most authentic ways possible. Do you have charitable or green initiatives at your institution? Talk about it, and target your young consumers. It'll resonate much more with them. And if you treat yourself like a retailer in the eyes of your millennial consumers, you'll position yourself in a much more attractive way. And injecting a little humor into your communications and collateral certainly doesn't hurt—stuffiness is not your friend when it comes to millennials.

Living situations

With a difficult job market comes a difficult housing market. Young millennials are struggling to save money, so the last thing they want to think about right now is settling down and purchasing a home. They're major renters and many have moved in with family members temporarily to save money and job-search. 

Try it: With your youngest Gen-Y consumers, don't cram mortgage loans down their throats—they're busy paying college and car loans and won't be inclined to add to their mounting debts. Talk to them about unique savings and budgeting opportunities, ways to refinance existing loan and credit card debt and—something they value more than previous generations—opportunities to save up for and spend during travel opportunities. They're not settle-down types, after all.

Breaking through to your youngest customers is about showing the benefits, rather than telling them—a tangible, positive result sends a much more powerful message than a bulleted list of monetary benefits. Tell your story.

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