“I confess. I’m a Millennial.” claimed an eminent Thought Leader in the banking and financial services space as looks of astonishment were exchanged by 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 topic of Millennials that fateful day made it seem like Millennials were a virus rather than a group of diverse human beings.
The notable Thought Leader in question was Jeremy Balkin, the Head of Innovation at HSBC. 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.” It’s not surprising given that E&Y has predicted that 75% of the global workforce would
be filled with Millennials by 2025.
Truth Vs Myth
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?
The stereotypes that people have about Millennials couldn’t be more wrong today than ever before! Hoping to break this stereotypical mindset, Bank of America released a survey on Tuesday, citing that 16% of Millennials have savings of over 100,000$! About two
of three (63%) Millennials are saving money, which is comparable with that of 64% of Gen Xers and 75% of Baby Boomers. It was also revealed that they were very meticulous in their savings: 67% of the Millennials with a savings goal stuck to it. Couple this
with the fact that 90% of Millennials are aware that they need to get into a healthy saving pattern and you’d know why people have got the wrong end of the stick. This comes in the wake of a rather negative attitude ignorant people bandy about Millennials
without so much as understanding the Millennial Mindset.
Experience-Driven Banking All the Way
There is a goldmine of opportunity when it comes to how traditional retail banks can improve the Millennial’s financial well-being. With tailored products and services that speak to every diverse Millennial’s need, banks can attempt to woo this segment with
Capital One is aiming to curry favour with the Millennials with cafes that provide free WiFi, local bakes, handcrafted beverages and free financial coaching by professionals. With more than 80 million Millennials having grown up with technology in the US, Capital
One is hoping to lay a new foundation for relationship-based banking. According to a Deloitte report, 57% of Millennials would change their banking relationship for a better technology experience. Capital One’s cafes are built on the vision that “Banking should
fit your life. Not the other way around”. A number of banks and financial services firms believe in this vision as American Express also showed us with their Cobalt Card in Canada rewarding card members on food, travel and entertainment, aligning with the
financial priorities of Millennials.
My all-time favourite is the DBS Marina Regatta 2017 in Singapore that featured first-of-its-kind experiences with Singapore’s largest interactive art dome, the country’s largest inflatable water obstacle course, dragon boating, a 21,000 square foot ‘pop-up’
urban beach, a mass drone light display show and yoga workout sessions! It couldn’t get any more experiential!
Celebrating the Millennial Banking Wave
Forrester said last year that “Millennials being Millennials” has gone mainstream and will become the fundamental driver of the future digital business landscape. Banking is at the highest risk of disruption and as technologies at the back end like Blockchain,
AI, NLP among others mature, it should only deliver superior user experiences at the front end to get closer to the Millennial.
For a start it calls for a celebration of all things Millennial- individualistic, innovative and enigmatic! When the tech-savvy Millennial takes to Banking, every top Banking Executive and CXO would know that it is a conscious choice of competing for the future
while humbly honouring the past generations that are making way for the Millennial. We need to honour this commitment more as the future lies in Millenniall Banking willy-nilly.