What’s coming for the financial institution? A better question may be – what’s already happening. Today, next-generation banks are providing a streamlined, more efficient, and more Millennial-friendly way of banking. You’ve heard talk about it before, but what is happening and why? More so, what do you, as a bank leader need to know to ensure your company doesn’t lose ground in the process?
Consider What Millennials Have Demanded
To understand how and why banks are changing, you have to take a closer look at Millennials. This generation has changed banking with their demand for more information, always-connected customer service, and app and on-the-go solutions. A report from American Banker offers some insight into what this group wants:
- When choosing a bank, 92 percent say they would choose based on the digital services available.
- Of those surveyed, 68 percent use online banking tools.
- And, 30 percent have some type of financial product beyond what their bank provides.
What this generation did was to move traditional banking to the backdrop, demanding a way to get the necessary financial services from a faster, more effective solution. Apps, websites with services and applications online, and the investment in customer service that is always available is where it started.
New Ways to Invest
Over the years, banks and financial institutions have had to weather a lot of strife. The Great Recession left many banks and investors looking for new ways to gain trust in customers. And, this generation no longer was willing to go into a financial officer’s office during normal banking hours to make investments blindly. Yet, Millennials are somewhat money saving in that they want to be able to invest.
With this lack of trust in traditional financial services and the demand for more information, third-party apps and companies have come to the surface to create a new way to invest. You’ve likely heard of some of these companies – several have gone from low-level startups to IPOs with big investment dollars.
Why do they matter? Here’s a closer look at a few of them and why they matter:
- Acorns: This app allows users to invest their spare change from transactions – by simply allowing them to round up the total for their bill. This makes it easy to invest. There is no minimum balance required to invest, no monthly deposit amount requirement, and extra funds can be deposited to accounts right away.
- Stash: For those with a bit of insight, this app allows individuals to choose from 30 different exchange-traded funds. The fees are low. Users can also invest in some individual stocks. It takes just $5 to get started.
- Earnin: This free financial service allows you to draw fee-free amounts from your paycheck - whenever you want - from your smartphone. Since you've already earned your wages, the idea is that you should be able to access those wages anytime - not just every two weeks.
The benefits here are numerous. It is easy to invest. There is no long-term commitment, and there are plenty of instant actions possible. All of this has made investors worry – are traditional banking and investing methods still ideal?
Looking Beyond to Gen Z
Gen Z is quickly becoming the group to pay attention to. These individuals are just entering college. They are very much unlike Millennials and very much dependent on a digital world – they’ve known nothing more than this. And, they will demand more technology than any generation before them. Here are some details about them from Accenture:
- Surprisingly, about 23 percent of this generation actually visit a bank branch once a week — which is largely a reflection of their cash dependence.
- Digital technology is essential with 69 percent preferring a mobile application over any other.
- They will invest, but they will do it on their terms. They will be more engaged than any other generation in their financial services. This includes mobile, digital and in-bank interactions.
What Does This Mean for Today’s Bank or Credit Union?
Banks are not going to fold as apps develop – that’s key to understand because Gen Z is interested in financial services. But, they will become more dependent on automated, intelligent-driven solutions for all of their financial needs. They will invest, but they will do so with digital methods. As a banker today, it is critical to understand the value of automation, artificial intelligence, and data-focused resources for this group and beyond. It is interesting to note just how diverse offerings can be, though. Gen Z is wide open, even as Millennials continue to push change in the financial industry. To compete, banks need to be on the cutting edge, able to provide outstanding service in a digital world. And having access to the right data is at the heart of it all.
To learn more about how financial data + artificial intelligence (AI) can help empower your financial institution's customers, here's a good overview.