Millennials drive change. They are the largest living adult generation, make up the largest segment of America’s workforce, have immense buying power, and are not as quick to go along with the old way of doing things. That has fueled shifts in everything from healthcare to the workplace to—yes—banking. Millennials have different banking preferences than their parents, and SmartBank is proud to be Millennial-friendly.
Millennials are less inclined to stay at whatever bank they choose for good. They are 2.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to switch banks, and the driving forces of that move are varied. Technology is one. Millennials want to be able to easily log into mobile banking apps, which they do an average of 13.7 times per month. Once there, they say they want to see their transaction history, transfer funds between accounts, and make person-to-person payments, something SmartBank clients can do in a fast, safe, and easy way via Zelle, which is part of the SmartBank mobile app.
But that does not mean they steer clear of brick-and-mortar locations (SmartBank has 35 branches across the states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida). On the contrary, one 2019 survey found 60% of Millennials visit a bank branch at least once a month—for reasons you’d expect, like making deposits, but also to get documents notarized or to apply for loans. And they like it when those banks are locally owned: nearly 1 out of every 2 Millennials would opt for that over a national chain (we fit the bill here!).
And when it comes to choosing a bank, they want to know what is in it for them. Past surveys of Millennials have found that no-fee banking is a must, and that the vast majority would be willing to switch to a new bank if it offered better rewards (think waived ATM fees or better interest rates).
When it comes to rewards, SmartBank offers one unusual perk to customers who switch to our checking. They can “cash in” on any unused checks and their old debit card by bringing them in when opening any new checking account. We will buy them from you for up to $10! And that checking account then gets to work: Our SmartDirect Interest Checking and SmartPlus Interest Checking both pay competitive interest rates, with the latter account paying an even higher rate for balances over $1,500.
Millennials’ banking interest goes beyond checking accounts, however. They also have financial goals, but banks need to make it clear that they can help Millennials achieve them. Recent Deloitte research found that these financial goals tend to focus on “upward mobility”—like buying a home or having the money to go back to school. And about 2/3 of them say they would welcome help in terms of getting there, such as assistance developing a savings plan. But the first partner that comes to mind is not a bank: Just 33% said they thought about working with their bank to achieve that goal.
That opens a door that banks would be wise to walk through. With the rise of mobile banking, it is easier to refashion tellers not just as people who can carry out transactions, but as true resources who can guide customers in their banking journey and direct them to other valuable services and solutions within the company. Doing that requires a people-first mindset, and that’s one SmartBank is proud to have.