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Young North Americans willing to go branchless

27 May 2014  |  7212 views  |  0 Teenagers using Smartphone

Nearly four in 10 young North Americans would be happy to consider switching to a purely digital bank that has no branch network, a survey from Accenture shows.

Of nearly 4000 people quizzed by the consultancy, 27% would consider going branchless. This rises to 39% among 18 to 34 year olds but drops to 16% among people over 55.

One reason so many may be willing to ditch branches is that 71% of survey respondents consider their relationship with their banks purely transactional and not a source of financial advice.

Many North Americans do not think that banks offer anything unique, with half of those questioned, and 70% of 18 to 34 year olds, saying that they would happily bank with non-banks that started offering financial services.

Asked about specific companies, 50% say they would bank with mPOS giant Square, 41% with PayPal, 31% with T-Mobile - which has moved into the financial services market recently - and 29% with both Apple and Google.

Accenture argues that for banks to hold off competition and keep young customers onboard they need to improve how they deliver services. More than 90% of millennials (under 30s) use online banking and 72% use mobile banking. Yet two thirds say that the traditional and digital experience they get from their banks is not at all seamless.

While not keen on branches, more than half are interested in talking to real bank employees via video chat and 58% want their banks to be proactive and recommend products and services.

Around two thirds of millennials follow a budget and want help managing their money through things such as online tools and 22% want to use social media for financial advice.

Wayne Busch, MD, North America banking practice, Accenture, says: "Tomorrow's consumer is coming of age with a very different perception of what a bank could be. Those expectations could become profoundly disruptive to banks if non-bank entrants gain momentum and banks fail to adapt quickly."

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