My age group (born 1990-2000) is one of the most talked about
demographic segments in the banking space. They're also one of the
reasons why the future of banking seems to be all about mobile.
CNN Money, Javelin or
But until I interviewed at Andera, I didn't know that it was
possible to make transfers or deposits on my phone, let alone open
accounts or apply for loans.
In college my friends and I relied primarily on online banking
and ATMs. We avoided checks and made account-to-account transfers
online, occasionally navigating clunkily on smartphone browsers but
never using a native mobile application or a mobile optimized site.
When I came home from my first week of work and showed my roommates
how to make transfers with the Bank of America app, it was
My generation may know a lot about mobile, but we don't know
much about banking. Most of us have only one checking and one
savings account. Many of us don't have credit cards, especially
those who entered college after the 2008 financial crisis
ended the heyday of student deals. Personal finance is rarely
taught in high school, so for the most part we bank how our parents
tell us to bank; which means we go to the branch.
This understanding can explain some seemingly contradictory
this stat that reports that Gen Yers are twice as likely to bank
mobile and the recent Fiserv Consumer Trends survey that showed
Gen Y visits the branch nearly twice often as Gen X or the Baby
Boomers. (Ron Shevlin has some great commentary on the
Gen Y craze
here). It's not that we don't like mobile; it's that we don't
know much about banking yet, and even while we engage on our
smartphones we think we need the branch because we that's how our
parents have always banked.
We have a client that understands this; we were with the University of Southern
California Credit Union on campus last week as they used our
new oFlows account opening
and lending platform to sign up students. Their annual
back-to-school fair lasts one week and drives most new memberships
for the credit union. Instead of showing up with clipboards and
wads of paper or expecting students to complete the process on
their own, they brought iPads to help students open accounts on the
spot. The University of Southern California Credit Union is sending
a powerful message to Gen Y: yes, you can do your banking using
mobile devices. Surprisingly, it's a message that not many students
have heard before.
Back-to-School on a college campus is always a crash course in
personal finance for freshman. Teach them how they can use their
mobile devices to open accounts, apply for loans, and bank at your
institution. It will probably be their favorite lesson. Banks and
credit unions need to recognize that mobile isnota troublesome
feature you "need" to adopt to attract a younger audience, but in
fact their best marketing tool.