“I confess. I’m a Millennial.” claimed Jeremy Balkin, the Head of Innovation at HSBC, as looks of surprise came over the faces of Senior Executives and CXOs in a boardroom of a leading global corporation. Times Square stood squarely in the background, bearing testimony to the changing times. The “uninspired” discussions that ensued on the rise of Millennials that fateful day made it seem like Millennials were a virus rather than a group of diverse human beings. This was a shot in the arm for Jeremy to speak out as a frustrated Millennial and challenge the status quo; a generational confirmation bias and stereotypes of Millennials perpetuated in the media were laid threadbare. Jeremy’s inspiration resulted in his book “Millennialization of Everything: How to Win When Millennials Rule The World”.
Jeremy describes his pet concept “Millennialization of Everything” as “the widespread impact of Millennial preferences and choice behavior on all consumers and industries.”
Are the assumptions perpetuated about Millennials like their enormous sense of entitlement valid? How can banks become “Millennialized” enough to build trust with the Millennial segment?
Back to the Future
Srini Peyyalamitta, Head of Banking & Financial Services at Aspire Systems interviewed Jeremy Balkin in a candid interview on the Millennialization of Everything in Banking. When asked what gets him thinking on Millennials, he answers in his characteristic style, “If you’re not thinking about Millennials, you’re not thinking!” He makes the argument that if banks want to exist in the next 5 years, they must embrace Millennials through innovation and growth. That’s because 75% of the workforce is going to be run by Millennials by 2025 according to an Ernst and Young survey.
Jeremy speaks about how different generations within Millennials were impacted by “profound Millennial experiences” that have shaped their personas; be it the terrorist attacks of 2001 or the Great Recession of 2008, this conditioning has formed the Millennial Mentality. With banking getting disrupted at an exponential pace, Jeremy wants banks to think about what they are going to look like when they’d be run by Millennials.
It’s interesting to see the passion in Jeremy’s eyes as he speaks about Millennialization in the context of banking. From busting myths about Millennials, like “all Millennials are the same” to the existence of retail banking being necessary to complement the digital and mobile experience, Jeremy takes the viewer on a revealing journey of Millennial Banking. Pushing products is not the right strategy according to him and would, on the contrary, break trust. Understanding a Millennial’s needs, he admits, should be first and foremost on the banker’s mind.
In Jeremy’s words, “Banking is the metaphor for trust”. While Millennials prefer experiences rather than things, banks must start building trusted advisory relationships with this booming customer segment. In a world filled with Millennials, it’s going to be this nexus between technology and trust that will take banks a long way in their Millennial Banking Journey. Alan Watts once said, “Faith is a state of openness or trust”. In a state that will foster openness with Open Banking in the near future, banks would do well to build trust and make a Millennial have faith in their banks.
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