One of the trends we’ve seen recently is the rapidly shifting digital banking landscape and the focus on serving the tech savvy millennial generation. My personal experiences navigating our current financial system have formed my views on digital banking and beyond. I currently have bank accounts at a local credit union, a larger regional bank in the state I live in and Ally, an online only bank. I’ve gone through the process of applying for three mortgages at three different banks. As a millennial there are four key areas that I believe banks of the future should focus on.
Instead of focusing on adapting traditional banking services, banks should look to make their services more streamlined. SoFi’s newly launched beta product SoFi Money is a perfect example. They have decided to do away with checking and savings accounts altogether and have rolled them into one easy to understand current account paying 1.1% interest.
Another good example is Goldman Sachs’ Marcus savings account. I recently setup an account to better understand their approach to banking. Marcus currently offers three products: savings, CDs and personal loans. They offer some of the highest interest rates on deposits and competitive interest rates on personal loans. Marcus has taken a minimalist approach to the user experience by offering all the actions you can take front and center.
It amazes me with the offerings that exist today that some banks still manage to charge for services that are free at the highest rated banks. Requirements such as minimum account balances or monthly deposits eventually will be a thing of the past as the traditional banks catch up.
Features such as transferring money to any other US financial institution should be free. International money transfers can all be done for a fair price through Transferwise or a similar service.
Customer Support How and When You Need It
Millennials can be demanding when it comes to customer service. Since we often are not banking during the business hours we need support during nights and weekends. Banks should make it a priority to be able to address a wide range of requests in whichever way the customer would like to be helped, whether it be phone, email or chat. One of the main problems I see today is either a lack of a chat option altogether or the inability to authenticate users to truly resolve issues over chat. This is the method I prefer when seeking customer support even beyond banking.
Integration and Open Banking
More and more I am logging into apps such as Personal Capital to get an overview of my financial life. These types of apps have the opportunity to be the front end to our entire banking experience and there are tremendous opportunities as open banking begins to take hold in the US. Those that embrace the inevitable advent of open banking will be successful over the long term. It is becoming apparent that customers will receive solutions from multiple vendors as banks begin to focus on being world class at a select few services instead of trying to provide every service.
I expect we will experience a radical shift in banking over the next five years. More Americans will become comfortable with online only banks as more complicated services such as mortgages move online. The local branch experience will change substantially and even the way we think about banking will change. Millennials will be the generation that drives this change and the newer entrants in this space have the potential to leapfrog the incumbents.