It’s a problem that has long plagued the lending and real estate industry: how to get more Millennials into the market?

Millennials are a large and diverse generation and the reasons why they have delayed homeownership are as diverse as they are.

The bell curve of the generation was witness and party to the financial destruction wrought by the Great Recession which, unsurprisingly, has left them leery of investing large sums of money.

Many of them also entered the job market in the nadir of the recession when jobs were scarce and paid poorly. That’s one of the main reasons so many of them job-hopped in their twenties – that was the only way to see a significant salary increase. Three percent annually of a crap salary doesn’t add up to a living wage.

Then of course there’s the overwhelming student loan debt many of them carry, the crushing financial burden of living in Greater Boston, the expense of a wedding when they finally get around to that life event, and the existential anxiety that comes from navigating these realities and the realization that they might never get ahead.

But by all means, let’s push homeownership on them. Ah, but how to entice them to finally see homeownership as something that is both desirable and attainable? Naveo Credit Union has found the secret: offer them free pizza and beer!

Ok, we’re poking fun at Naveo a little here, but it’s actually a pretty good marketing strategy. Naveo last month held a first-time homebuyer seminar at Aeronaut Brewing Co., a member business conveniently located down the street in Somerville. The event was promoted on social media and on the brewery’s website. And yes, attendees received free pizza and beer.

The event attracted quite a few non-members who, in addition to the usual homebuyer education, also received an introduction to how a credit union operates and what benefits it offers.

Naveo has successfully executed the kind of community outreach that yields business results, and kudos to them for thinking outside the box and trying new things.

Traditional homebuying seminars are – no offense to the institutions producing them – kind of boring. Meeting prospective clients outside the four walls of the financial institution makes the whole thing feel less like a business pitch and more like an education.

Memorably titled “Hops & Homebuyers,” the seminar may not result in immediate applications for preapproval letters, but when the time does come for these prospective buyers, you can bet they’ll remember Naveo Credit Union.

Naveo Finds the Secret to Attracting Millennial Homebuyers

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min