It’s easy to believe that the youngest FI consumers would be the primary demographic wanting more from digital banking platforms. But despite differences in their online lifestyles, all users, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, want their credit union or bank to deliver a modern, intuitive mobile app and desktop experience.
We discovered this when we conducted primary research among 795 U.S. consumers and 150 regional and community financial institutions in June of 2021 to better understand Big Tech’s influence on the digital banking experience.
To qualify for the double-blind study, consumers ages 18-75 admitted to online or mobile banking at least once per month. These consumers were well represented as customers
or members from multiple types of financial institutions, including megabanks, neobanks, and regional and community financial institutions. Financial institution respondents had between $200 million to $100 billion in assets and 10,000 to 2,000,000 customers or members. Each respondent was involved in digital banking decisions, with two-thirds in senior or executive management.
Boomers and Gen Z want the same things
Alkami asked digital banking consumers from each generational cohort (Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer) to select their digital banking preferences on a sliding scale across multiple polarities, including the following:
As our research shows, imposing one’s own deliberate or unconscious generational bias risks missing the bigger picture that brilliant digital user experiences are, in fact, universally lauded by all. The data reveals that Baby Boomers are more likely to prefer an engaging, ever-evolving, relevant, and multifunctional digital banking experience than all other generations and are just as likely to want it to be autonomous as Gen Zers.
Digital banking solution preferences among generations
Preference for AI decisioning plays differently across demographics, with younger generations being more trusting than Gen X and Boomers. Still, more than half of all generations are wary of machines solely running the show.
Mobile-first, data-informed fintech and neobank experiences emulating those of Big Tech companies have swayed 79% of digital banking consumers across all generations to consider opening a new checking or savings account with a technology-driven organization. While half of respondents reporting they would open a checking or savings account with these companies is cause enough for alarm, an even more cautionary statistic is this: nearly one-third of those surveyed said they would switch from their primary financial institution to one of these tech brands. Millennials, a core segment of customer and member bases, are more likely to make such a change.
The takeaway: interrogate generational biases
Everyone cares about digital banking, and their concerns are becoming more informed and specific. To cater to one demographic online and another in the branch is to misunderstand today’s challenges. Not only are FIs racing to stay at the forefront of technology for their own day-to-day, they’re also straining to meet user expectations. It would be simpler to only have to meet the demands of one demographic, but all users want a better digital experience, and their needs are not so different among Boomers and Gen Zers.