What do millennials want? Convenient, simple banking! When do they want it? Now! The banking industry is feeling the pressure to modernize the way it interacts with its customers, given an extra push by the shift in demographics when millennials became the nation’s largest living generation at the beginning of last year. So how can banks keep up with consumer’s demands for at-their-fingertips banking?
Here are three simple ways:
Create hybrid products – Sixty-seven percent of adults between the ages of 18-29 do not own a credit card. Millennials tend to shy away from plastic because of fear associated with the 2008 financial crisis. But perhaps more millennial-esque, I believe they're passing on the plastic because banks aren’t providing the options they want. Still cautious about using credit as a financial tool, banks should ease the younger generation into establishing credit by creating a stepping stone debit/credit hybrid card that allows them to build credit and earn rewards points by using their own money. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Develop a new mobile experience – With the onset of popular apps like Uber and Postmates, millennials expect instant gratification and seamless functionality when it comes to using their mobile phones. Banks should streamline typically complicated processes to empower users to do things like download documents such as mortgage applications from their phone or apply for loans/chat with customer service reps via Skype or Facetime interviews. Additionally, banks should foster relationships with their customers by sharing positive financial goal updates on a regular basis via their mobile apps rather than only reaching out when there is an issue.
Dominate FinTech – If banks want to keep up with advancements in FinTech made by third party developers like Mint and Acorn they need to make it a point to innovate their own technology. Think of how easy it is to sign up for the money sharing app Venmo, getting a bank account should be just as simple. Back in the 80s, banks transitioned from tellers to ATMs and the next step will be moving from ATMs to mobile.
The future of banking will be directly shaped by advancements in technology and consumer demands.
Down the road, banks should function more like Apple stores, offering “genius” bars with approachable customer service representatives to provide financial support and have less of a focus on pushing products.
David Lester, Managing Director, leads Brightworks’ digital financial services out of New York. Lester is a professional financial coach with over thirteen years of experience in finance, advertising and communications.