Though it might sound surprising, Gen Z is more likely to use branches than even Millennials.
This goes against common intuition. Aren’t Gen Z the most tech-fluent generation yet? Will they even want branches at all? The reality is their financial uncertainty, the evolution of the branch and the experiences they’re listening to and absorbing about personal finance, particularly from Millennials, are resonating with them and they’re taking their financial lives seriously. Consider the following ways your branch can serve Gen Z as in-person banking re-emerges in 2021.
Underlying Concerns Lead to Greater Branch Engagement
It must be stated: Covid disrupted in-person everything, and financial institution branches were no exception. With that said, public health experts are feeling cautiously optimistic about vaccination progress in 2021 and the re-emergence of in-person activities.
Pre-Covid, Gen Z was more engaged with branches than their Millennial counterparts. The reason? Gen Z is still laying the groundwork for their financial lives, and these preoccupations are a driving force behind them wanting to interact in-person. The ability to talk to a human being, gain context around their finances, learn about financial tools from a universal banker and the general will to get ahead in their financial lives all are underlying factors behind this trend.
As a financial institution, this is your chance. Think about the motivation driving an otherwise tech-preferential generation to go with a more “old school” in-person approach, and help provide a consultative hand to their personal finances.
Create a Lasting Relationship with a Consultative Approach
Think about the underlying concerns Gen Z customers are coming to your financial institution thinking about, and then have a plan to address them. In particular, think about:
Student loans. Gen Z has heard horror stories from Millennials about the crippling effects student loans can have on financial goals further into their lives. As a result, Gen Z is extremely debt-averse. Help them understand financing options and ways they can optimize their approach to paying back loans they take on.
Saving for a home. Gen Z has passively experienced the barriers their older counterparts have experienced regarding barriers to purchase a home, particularly in more expensive urban areas. Help them understand how their credit scores can help leverage financing, and help establish a long-term savings plan for them.
Retirement. While retirement might not be on most of Gen Z’s radar, the reality is that every dollar allocated now can go further for retirement than in the future. Help them understand the future value of a dollar invested today, and come up with plan to act on it.
The Branch Experience and Beyond
Many financial institutions are rethinking the branch experience, trying to create more of a coffee shop environment than a traditional bank, with the underlying motivation of creating a more approachable location that will be used casually and frequently. Capital One 360 Cafes are a prime example of this, and this type of approach can be a helpful tool to appeal to a younger generation.
Additionally, once Gen Z customers solicit your financial institution, make sure you have a digital plan in place to follow up. Find ways to follow up with them on their preferred platforms, give them ongoing education resources, and make sure they’re able to utilize helpful budgeting tools to ensure they continue to engage with your financial institution tomorrow and beyond.