Back to School: How to Attract the Mobile GenerationóWith Mobile
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. Just ask CNN Money or Javelin. 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 revolutionary.
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 statistics, like 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 an Andera 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. Credit unions need to recognize that mobile is not a troublesome feature you "need" to adopt to attract a younger audience, but in fact their best marketing tool.
Melanie Friedrichs is marketing coordinator for Andera (Andera.com), a provider of online account opening and customer acquisition solutions.
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