How Banks Can Evolve To Embrace Gen Z Consumers
As technology advances and cultural values shift, the financial expectations and needs of many Gen Zers differ from those of previous generations. As financial institutions face an increasingly competitive market, banks are eager to learn what it takes to win and retain Gen Z customers.
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But are banks prepared to meet young people’s most pressing needs? Here are the top four ways banks can evolve to embrace Gen Z consumers, according to financial marketing experts.
Also get some background on Gen Z by checking out seven ways that generation handles its banking needs.
Provide Resources To Help Gen Zers Save Money and Pay Off Debt
Offers for low-interest mortgages or credit cards may be more popular with previous generations. But Gen Zers’ goals tend to differ slightly, centering more on building their savings and chipping away at mounting debt, said Sam Boggs, managing director at Backbase. As a result, they’re looking for reliable financial resources to help them achieve these goals.
“Financial wellness programs are particularly important for Gen Z,” he added. “Many banks and credit unions have found it to be a successful addition to their offerings as it increases success in their institution, which leads to the stickiness and loyalty they are after. Financial wellness can come in the form of advice videos, blogs and articles, and more.”
While creating these resources, avoid financial jargon and aim for engaging experiences with accessible, conversational information.
Go Digital With Mobile Apps and Online Banking
Banks looking to win over more Gen Z consumers would do well to focus on a strong digital presence and mobile banking apps.
For Gen Z, mobile app (37%) is the most popular preferred method to open a deposit account, according to a 2022 report from the Bank Administration Institute. And 60% of young people say they would switch to a different financial institution for a better mobile app or digital experience.
“This latest generation is looking for access to the information they need instantly and at their fingertips,” Boggs said. “They want their questions answered quickly, and they want to feel that their bank can and will help solve their financial needs. To meet these needs, banks need to build a banking experience specifically tailored toward the end user.”
But simply providing mobile banking is not enough, said Shyam Pradheep, head of revenue at Zogo.
“To stay competitive with these other institutions’ offerings,” Pradheep said, “mobile banking apps should be consistently updated to include dynamic visuals, rewarding loyalty programs and comprehensive functionality.”
Focus on Convenient, Personable Customer Service
As banks enhance their digital resources, it’s crucial that they don’t lose sight of the power of person-to-person communication. Banks that can combine a convenient online banking experience with helpful customer service may have a stronger edge than those who simply focus on one or the other.
“Gen Z wants to be able to do everything they can online in most instances,” Boggs said. “However, if they have a question or a difficulty, they want to be able to instantly connect with someone who can help them. Banks and credit unions are sometimes not doing a great job at this because they don’t have the infrastructure built out to answer questions quickly, or their call centers are overloaded and they may not have chat capabilities.”
Make Your Values Known
Many Gen Zers don’t have the same level of brand loyalty as past generations, said Gabe Krajicek, CEO of financial technology company Kasasa. “This isn’t surprising considering the fast-growing pool of choices young consumers have when it comes to financial services. While many older generations bank at the same institutions for much of their lives, Gen Z is known to make changes.”
What can help inspire more brand loyalty, however, is aligning with values that communicate authenticity and integrity.
“Gen Z will bring back choosing banks and credit unions that have their best interests at heart,” Krajicek said. “There’s evidence that points to Gen Z being more inclined to support purpose-driven brands and tending to be more socially and environmentally aware than older generations. They consider a brand’s value and impact on society when making decisions and want to be a part of something larger than themselves with a positive impact.”
Community banks and credit unions may have an easier time fulfilling this need.
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