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08/17/2015

Is Your Financial Institution Ready for Digital Natives?

Mark Arnold August 17th, 2015

If you’re the kind of person that likes statistics and meshes that with a love of marketing, the following from Pew Research Center is right up your alley:

By the year 2020, 40% of the United States population will be “Digital Natives” and will account for up to 39% of the nation’s personal income.

What, exactly, is an “digital native?” For marketing purposes, a digital native is an individual that was born into and raised in a world in which personal computers, the Internet and digital technology are both the norm and readily available.

That is both a compelling and challenging set of statistics. And if it holds true, this dawn of the digital natives is a mere four years away.

What exactly is your financial institution doing to prepare for this? If this flood of individuals that knows nothing other than instant access to information via the Internet and digital channels is truly coming into its own, are you ready? Or are you mired in the thinking and technology mindsets of past generations?

This is what digital natives will demand of your bank or credit union. Are you ready?

  • Instant access to everything you offer. Whether on a traditional desktop computer, a smart phone or a tablet, your digital native consumers will expect instantaneous access to not only their money but also virtually all your products and services. Failure to offer certain products and services digitally could spell doom with this generation.
  • Ease and simplicity. Nobody wants the hassle of ten different checking account options, lists of fees a mile long and confusing disclosures. Digital natives want things short and sweet. Making processes unnecessarily complicated or lengthy will turn them off to your financial institution.
  • Social interaction. While not many of digital natives will come into the physical branch, they still expect plenty of social interaction with your financial institution. So you need to meet them where they are. For digital natives, this means online. Your financial institution must have a robust digital interaction platform, including text messaging, online chat support and multiple social media channels.
  • Continuous innovation. What worked well a year ago simply won’t cut it for digital natives. Your financial institution must be on the forefront of all things cutting edge. Dropping the ball on this one leaves you vulnerable to losing wallet and market share to the competition that does stay on top of rapidly evolving technology.
  • Banking with a social conscience. The financial institution must also be involved in the communities it serves. Digital natives have grown up with a sense of community and of wanting to give back. Your bank or credit union must emulate this and exist not only as a financial institution but as a committed and active corporate citizen in the community.

The good news is, many financial institutions are well on their way towards accomplishing these goals. If however, your bank or credit union lags behind consider this is your wake up call.