Young Americans don't trust banks; want more social tech-driven communication - survey

Young Americans don't trust banks; want more social tech-driven communication - survey

US banks seeking to rebuild trust among young "millennials" should tap blogs and social networks to improve communication, according to a Microsoft sponsored survey.

The poll of 500 18 to 29 year olds, conducted by KRC Research, unsurprisingly shows trust in financial institutions has plummeted since the bailout of AIG and banks a year ago.

Nearly 60% of respondents say their level of trust in financial services has decreased over the last year, and only half of millennials feel the industry is in touch with their generation.

When asked how banks can improve trust, 27% say the use of online blogs where customers can pose questions and get answers would be a "very important" step. A further 42% say it would be "somewhat important".

Furthermore, 23% say using technology such as social networking, two-way blogs and Twitter to improve dialogue is "very important" and 37% think it is "somewhat important".

Asked for useful communication methods banks could employ, 75% of millennials are in favour of monthly e-mail updates. Online live chat with staff is considered useful by 67% while 64% are in favour of having a personal Web portal with their account information.

Just over half also want text message updates with the same percentage calling for financial applications for smartphones.

Streaming Webcasts from financial experts received positive feedback from 51% with podcasts favoured by 44% and real-time Twitter feeds and responses from bank customer service staff are backed by 43%.

Colleen Healy, general manager, US financial services, Microsoft, says: "The financial crisis has created a deep sense of mistrust in millennials, which is keeping the next generation of wealth on the sidelines. However, this survey points to technology as a solution for financial services firms seeking to rebuild trust and build lasting relationships with this group."

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