Banks that extend context into a Millennial’s life build trust, but banks that build context into a Millennial’s life extend life-long relationships.

While millennials are often stereotyped as the mysterious bunch, some even go so far as to call them “narcissistic” or “entitled”. What they don’t understand is that they are just a set a people with unique needs. Having unique needs simply means catering to them uniquely- putting them on a path of assurance and self-realization! However, the Millennial Disruption Index depicts 53% of millennials don’t believe their bank offers them anything special. Can millennials really trust their banks to handle their finances?

68% of millennials use online banking to manage their financial lives according to American Banker. They constantly need financial guidance from their banks in making life-changing decisions. They want their banks to offer them appealing products and services which they feel are currently missing. All this while maintaining an emotional affinity with advisory customer service!

Let’s look at what banks are doing to strike a balance between a human-centric and a digital-first approach.

Citizens Bank- Converting First Impressions into Acquisitions

Citizens Bank had all the elements of a digital strategy- simple design, intuitive UX, live chat and online applications. With their private student loan product they learnt the hard way that digital experience alone doesn’t cut it; millennials weren’t responding to emails or phone calls to complete the process resulting in low conversion rates and delays. They analyzed the mindset of the Millennial which was simple- individualized attention and sincere advice. Millennials expected their banks to give them empathy at the right moment for contextualized engagement.

With their chatbot, Citizens Bank was able to capture users’ mobile numbers to trigger a persistent stream of actionable communications with a one-to-one messaging service thus ensuring loan process completion. They observed a 10% increase in loan completions and 85% opting in to the messaging service.

This is a classic case of how a strong messaging platform with personalized attention comes before the medium to establish a great connection.

CaixaBank – Simplifying Personal Finances for Millennials

Millennials are living in the networking age with high expectations from their mobile banking experiences. Forrester says more than half of younger millennials and two-thirds of older millennials expect to have unified information of all their accounts in one mobile app. Spain’s CaixaBank did just that when it launched a mobile-only bank imaginBank focused on millennials.

imaginBank was created in an atmosphere where most of the employees of CaixaBank Digital Business were nonbanker millennials. The aim of imaginBank was to keep millennials in full control of their personal finances from one app. Accessing accounts, paying bills, making card transactions were mapped to customizable graphics and expenditure targets. The bank is 100% digital with 2.5 million users that tune into their personalized personal financial management dashboard. Customers can also transfer upto 500 euros through WhatsApp.

CaixaBank thought it had differentiated on strong customer experience by cracking the fundamental needs of what millennials want- A personalized unified portal that simplifies and manages their personal finances. But have they built context into the Millennial’s life by giving them that much-needed assurance?

UOB, KrisFlyer- Rewarding Millennial Journeys with Air Miles

According to the Digital Banking Report, The Millennial Mind, millennials do not strongly agree that their bank knows them, cares for them or rewards them. Adding value from their digital experience should also extend into a millennial’s personal life where travel had accounted for 22% of their expenditure.

We had discussed earlier how millennials were turned off by unappealing products and services from their banks. UOB and KrisFlyer have tied up to launch a new account that targets the millennial market who do not earn $30,000 annual income with a banking solution coupled with travel privileges. This is clearly a case of how UOB wants to engage with their millennials differently.

Final Thoughts

Millennials want banks to be more aware of their needs and pick up the right conversational thread. Citizens Bank saw a spike in loan completions by building context into the Millennial’s life. Personalization and rewards go a long way in extending context but it’s important for CaixaBank and UOB to first build a strong conversational system in human-centricity that connects with their millennial audience.  It would extend the trust into the future for life-long relationships.

Indulge in Great Millennial Banking Recipes

Aspire’s Millennial Banking Community aims to bring bankers from worldwide closer with thoughts and opinions on how to serve the millennials better. Join the millennial banking community here.

Vishwas Anand

Vishwas Anand

Thought Leadership & Research Lead at Aspire Systems
He is currently working as a Thought Leadership & Research Lead and is a co-creator of Aspire's Digital Transformation framework. He is an MBA(2012-14) from IIM-Kozhikode and a published poet and writer, having written for the digital section of The Washington Times, Copperfield Review, Aquillrelle among other publications.
Vishwas Anand