See more of the story

Firefly Credit Union CEO Dale Turner, believed to be the youngest in such a role in Minnesota, is a millennial courting millennial consumers with digital services.

Ramping up Firefly’s digital banking services appealed to him — and, he believes, other millennials — as avid users of technology, Turner said. It also positioned the Burnsville-based credit union to respond to the statewide stay-at-home order issued to slow the spread of COVID-19.

While banks and credit unions remain open as essential services, Firefly, like some, has closed its nine branch lobbies while continuing drive-through, call-in, mobile and online services.

In another step, Firefly now offers a payment extension program, with more than 550 members so far deferring payments on nearly $10 million in loans for up to 90 days with interest accruing but no fees.

Mobile transactions were up 27% in February from the year before, Turner said. March has seen nearly 1,000 new digital-banking enrollments.

Firefly’s updated mobile app offers budgeting and spending tools that stand out as differentiators, Turner said.

Ratings for the app have risen from about 1.5 stars in the fourth quarter of 2018 to scores this week of 4.5 on Apple’s iOS and 3.5 on Google’s Android platforms.

In a further nod to millennials, Turner, 39, ensures that Firefly engages users on all social media platforms. Noteworthy locals discuss financial issues on Firefly’s podcast.

Firefly’s Net Promoter Score, measuring customer willingness to recommend a company, has risen from 72 in 2016 to 80 of the 100 maximum, Turner said.

Firefly — founded in 1925 and said to be the state’s oldest credit union — has $1.4 billion in assets, 265 employees and nearly 85,000 members. Membership grew 11% in 2019.

Turner joined Firefly in November 2018. He previously was chief sales and service officer/executive vice president at San Diego County Credit Union in California and also worked at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis and at financial institutions in Bemidji and Indianapolis.

A 2019 Star Tribune Top Workplace, Firefly was one of five Minnesota credit unions and fewer than 200 nationally that Forbes recognized last year as “best in state.”

Q: How has being a millennial helped you appeal to that group at Firefly?

A: We want all consumers but one of the largest, growing consumer segments is millennials. They want it now, immediately, quickly. They are the toughest to please. That’s why we’ve focused so much on technology to meet the consumer where they are and to be faster, easier and frictionless.

Q: What makes Firefly different?

A: We aren’t going to sell you products you don’t need or charge you fees you don’t see for services you don’t use. If you want an organization that is close to you in market, cares about the community and has the scale, size and technology to give you what you need and deserve out of a banking partner, that’s us.

Q: Why have you made banking your career?

A: I grew up in a blue-collar family. My dad was a truck driver and a Marine. My mom worked in a diner and at church. What they taught me was to pay attention to people. Look people in the eye. If you tell somebody you’re going to do something, just do it and take care of people. That led me to finding an industry that needs some care of people. I’m not sure the banking sector does a good job of it; we need to do a better job. I look at it as my job to move the needle on caring for people on the banking side.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com