Banking expectations of different generations

Generational divides today are remarkably distinct, and businesses need to capitalize on it. What appeals to one generation could dissuade another, so addressing various age group’s concerns isn’t always straightforward. To meet their individual needs, you need to know what they expect.

Financial services are in the unique position of being relevant and significant across all generations. No age group will outgrow the need for some form of banking, but what they expect of institutions differs. Here’s a closer look at the four primary generations in today’s market and what their banking expectations are.

Baby boomers

Baby boomers are the wealthiest generation in America, making them an attractive target market. Simultaneously, they typically show low involvement in their financial institutions. If you want to attract this wealthy but uninvolved generation, you need to take the initiative in engaging them.

Boomers expect fast-acting and exceedingly helpful customer service. The more you can engage and offer them without them having to ask, the better. The best way to approach that situation is by understanding their financial needs.

Given their age, baby boomers typically have a vested interest in health care. Many are also business owners or are planning their retirement. As a result, they’ll appreciate long-term financial planning services that can account for these needs.

Generation X

Generation X, now in their 40s and 50s, tend to find themselves in a difficult financial situation. They typically carry more debt than other generations, and at the same time, have major monetary choices in front of them. A considerable 50 percent of Gen Xers say providing for their children’s education is an important goal, compared to 20 percent of all adults.

Gen Xers look for policies that can help them in these situations. Competitive interest rates, customer loyalty and strong values all appeal to this generation. Gen X is also in a technological middle ground, so providing equal support across all channels is a good idea.

Millennials and Gen Z

Millennials and the often similarly minded Gen Z are the most tech-friendly generations. For these customers, mobile banking features are less of an optional extra and more of a standard. To appeal to this part of the market, you need to provide reliable and versatile digital platforms.

Simplicity and interoperability are critical values for the millennial banker. If your services, especially digital ones, aren’t user-friendly or don’t integrate with other platforms, it could turn them away. Millennials have the highest educational attainment of current generations, so they tend to appreciate innovation.

The tech-native Generation Z expects personalization above all else, even at the expense of privacy. Like millennials, they favor innovation, with 67 percent willing to switch banks if they find a more innovative option. Features like digital payments, peer-to-peer sharing and automated savings are all attractive to Gen Z.

Know your market and be flexible

While there is some crossover between generations, varying age groups have different expectations. When you understand your target market, you can work to fulfill these specific desires. In light of this variety, flexibility is among the most important values to uphold.

The way you interact with boomer customers won’t be the same as Gen X or Gen Z. The most successful banks are those that can be flexible enough to meet all these different expectations. If you’re flexible enough, you can provide quality support for customers in any age group.