A topic I have become increasingly consumed with is the misconception and overestimation of financial services market fragmentation. There is great focus these days on the emerging Gen Y market and all of their "unique" and "distinct" needs and preferences. I have no doubt whatsoever that this generation is unlike any that has come before - if for no other reason in the way we integrate technology, especially communications technology, in our lives.
I have had trouble, however, agreeing that our needs and preferences are all that "unique" and "distinct" as they pertain to financial services. We need loans, payment vehicles, investment vehicles, convenient access to our cash, and financial advice all at the best price possible...just like every other generation. We'd prefer not to be forced to deal with a financial institution.
So, to me it is the financial institutions, and particularly our marketers, that have fragmented (or tried to fragment) the market. I believe, to the contrary, we are a very mature industry with a very stagnant set of customer/member needs and wants.
This isn't exactly a bad thing for credit unions. I think we have unique ways with which we can deliver and price these services - dictated by our ownership structure. But let's not fool ourselves into overestimating this generation's uniqueness in terms of their financial service needs.