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Written by Cyndie Martini
on October 11, 2016

Creating and sticking to a budget isn't on many people's list of favorite tasks. Neither is paying bills or saving for the future. In fact, a study from Harris Poll for Fiserv recently found that 60 percent of respondents thought of financial management tasks such as these as more of a "must do" than a "want to."

Despite these notably not-fun tasks, being financially savvy is important in today's world. Budgeting and saving helps consumers build toward a stable future that isn't riddled with monetary uncertainty, something everyone appreciates at any point in their life. So, consumers do work toward these goals. They seek out the best rates and rewards to save money.

This results in many people turning to more than one financial institution to help manage their money. Consumers make strategic decisions about where to put their money and from whom to take out loans or credit cards. According to Fiserv's survey, consumers today have relationships with 3.7 financial institutions on average.

For the most part, consumers like their financial institutions. More than three-fourths of the 3,000 American adults surveyed said they would give their current institution (or institutions) an eight or higher on a scale of zero to 10, and 28 percent would give it a 10.

That number goes down when factoring in age. Millennial households are less likely to rate their banks or credit unions so highly, with just 65 percent giving their institution an eight or higher.

Millennials make their mark

Like many sectors, the financial industry is experiencing pressure from the Millennial generation to improve its services and become accommodating to the well-connected, technologically advanced consumer. Today's young adults are known for their strong attachments to their phones, and some of the most successful companies have learned to play into this trend.

Alexa von Tobel, founder of LearnVest, a money management website and smartphone app, explained to Forbes that technology has changed nearly every aspect of life for those willing to embrace it.

"We do things on our schedule, from our phones with the push of a button, and we absolutely demand affordability," she told Forbes.

Von Tobel recognized that this concept needed to be applied to the financial industry to help Generation Y take control of their money in the best way they know how - through their phones and online.

An opportunity for credit unions

Credit unions can take a page from von Tobel's book to appeal to more members. Fiserv's study found that more than half of Americans view their financial institutions as partners in managing their finances. This means they have trust in their credit unions to help them make smart money decisions - something many believe they do need help with. The average adult graded themselves at a C+ for long-term financial goals like saving for retirement or education.

Credit unions that develop financial management tools could see benefits in the form of member retention, new account openings and increased business from existing members. Providing consumers with what they want in the format that they want is a clear way to gain greater acceptance, respect and trust.

Two important features of an online financial management tool include:

  1. Security - Members want to make sure their personal and financial information is safe.
  2. Speed - Consumers want to view their account information quickly, with more than 80 percent of millennials expressing a desire for real-time account balance information and instant transaction postings.

By adopting new technologies, credit unions can gain favorability among their member base, especially their youngest members.

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