An Open Letter to Bankers About Your Millennial Challenge

Before we even get started, I need to clear the air. I believe it would be dishonest, disingenuous and even misleading for me to express my opinion without you knowing what I am.

I am a millennial.

I am also a fintech executive.

I will never forget attending BAI a number of years ago. I watched a group of suits, at least 60 years old or older, discussing and hypothesizing why millennials were giving them so much trouble.

The dialogue went something like this: Millennials are lazy. Millennials are entitled. Millennials whine. Millennials have no idea what the world is or what is expected, and they avoid hard work.

No solutions. The takeaway was simply: millennials need to change. The End.


Here’s why that narrative presents a problem and a challenge for the banking industry. According to The Financial Brand, 71% of our diverse and highly educated generation, representing more than 25% of the U.S. population, would rather go to the dentist than listen to what financial institutions are saying.

Millennials also contribute more than $1.3 trillion to the economy in annual spending. By the way, we want to spend money on financial services. A recent Accenture study revealed our top financial goals include building up an emergency fund (64%), saving for retirement (49%), and buying a home (33%). Nearly half of millennials already have $15,000 or more in savings, and 16% have $100,000 or more.

We have more access to information than any prior generation. We have high expectations for digital experiences because technology has been continuously pushed into our hands since we were young. Thank you, by the way. (Sincerely)

We are also a generation looking for a partner who can deliver the help we need in filling our financial education gaps. Two out of every three millennials say they want their financial institution to give them software so they can keep track of transactions, payments and other financial data in real-time, and then use that data to provide better recommendations. When accustomed to living an instant Amazon Prime-level of personalization, speed and service, the lack of evolution in financial services at a bank or credit union can be frustrating.

Admittedly, we are not a patient generation, but we are grateful for the few banking advances that delight.

Remote check deposit. AMAZING.
Pay my friends or businesses without a card. INCREDIBLE.

Give us more to rave about. Here’s what your financial institution can do to meet us halfway.

First, sell me what you have, not what you hope to have. Removing the disparity between those two things will make business with millennials much easier. When you use the words “fully online” or “instant approval,” and then ask me to come into a branch, know that I am walking away. In this day and age, words are more important than ever.

Second, allow more access. Make it easy for me to access the resources I want when it is most convenient for me, without misleading marketing. And give me access to the resource we both love: your employees. Millennials appreciate companies that successfully use technology to conveniently provide face-to-face, personalized service. POPin Video Banking is an excellent example of that mix, which is why I sincerely believe in our value proposition.

Third, you know my financial future (just look at Social Security), so help me get to where I need to be. When I am asking questions or evaluating solutions, pay attention and use your product and service knowledge to offer the best match. I take my financial future seriously, and silly upsells that are unrelated to my needs demeans any prior positive experience.

The good news is your employees are the solution. Email. Phone. Video chat. That is how I get access and work actually gets done on my behalf, with the latter providing an in-branch experience at any hour.

Listening, really listening to your millennial market, is the first step to building a better relationship.

-Tim Pranger

Request a demo to see how video banking could solve your millennial challenge.


Retail's Digital Journey - Lessons For Banking

Consumers want to use digital channels and FI's need to adapt and move towards a digital first strategy. As the financial industry goes through this transition, we can learn a bit from Retail's Digital Journey.

-Jed Taylor

Request a demo to see how you can improve your digital channels while maintaining the face-to-face interactions.


The engagement gap is digital delivery's biggest challenge

Losing the Relevance of Bank Branches

The migration from branches to digital channels continues. According to a Feb. 8 report in the The Wall Street Journal, the banking industry closed 1,700 branches in the 12 months ending in June 2017, this was the largest one-year decrease ever.

Not only are branch numbers falling, but the relevance with the consumers is falling too. I'm sure you remember the day when branch location was the primary decision criteria when selecting a new bank or credit union. Now it's fallen to third place according to Novantas research (2017 Omni Channel Shopper Study). A superior digital banking experience is now number one. In a different study (2017 Account Opening and Onboarding Benchmarketing Study) they found that about one-third of all consumers prefer to open their account digitally.

Looking at all of this research, it would appear that consumers increasingly prefer digital service over face-to-face branch service.

But not so fast.

Digital Channels, still not Engaging

While consumers continue to adopt digital channels, they're not exactly thrilled about the service they're receiving. A January poll of more than 1,600 digital banking users revealed that 68% of Americans who have used digital banking in the past year were frustrated by the experience. One-third polled were so frustrated, they told Harris Poll and D3 Banking Technology, they were willing to leave their financial institution in search of a better digital experience.

The report, as well as Novantas research, indicated two digital banking pain points for consumers.

  1. First, many institutions haven't evolved digital banking beyond basic transactions, like checking account balances or transferring funds. Consumers want more - at a minimum, mobile deposit, P2P and mobile account opening. Savvy consumers are already asking for artificial intelligence capabilities, biometrics and voice-driven interfaces.
  2. Second, most digital banking solutions don't provide optional human engagement. In the event of a problem, most systems require the user to abandon the digital channel and seek a phone representative or branch employee.

Creating Digital Engagement

What's the difference between digital transactions and digital engagement? About an hour. On average, Facebook users spend about an hour each day on the social media platform. Compare that to roughly 54 seconds a day that typical customers interact with a leading global retail bank and it's clear that financial institutions are missing the engagement mark.

Retail engagement has changed drastically over the last 10 years. Rather than talk at customers, educating them about the benefits of products and services, companies now speak with them. The difference is two-way dialogue that listens to customers' wants and needs … a lack of two-way dialogue defines the digital engagement gap.

Eliminating the digital engagement gap can seem overwhelming to a financial institution struggling to do it all - provide high-touch service to those who need it and high-tech service to those who want it - all the while complying with myriad regulations.

Is there hope to make Digital more Engaging?

Absolutely. Going forward, banking strategy must partner with third-party technology providers to create two-way conversations and transition from a transactional data mindset to an engagement mindset. Without it, banks and credit unions will be left behind, relegated to little more than transaction facilitators while business models that focus on engagement will win more complex and profitable functions, like lending and wealth management.

POPin Video Banking is an excellent way to improve digital banking engagement. Providing an on-demand video representative provides consumer with the reassuring touchstone of human problem-solving they crave in a branch … but with the convenience of having that branch like experience in the palm of their hand. POPin Video Banking can expand a financial institution's footprint in a meaningful way beyond branch locations, because the platform supports document sharing, signature capture, and workflow management. We even monitor emotional expressions to give video representatives positivity coaching tips that ensure customer satisfaction.

POPin Video Banking is a two-way digital engagement solution. Together, we can advance banks and credit unions into the digital age and transform consumer banking.

-Jed Taylor

Learn how you can improve your Digital Engagement, schedule a demo today.


Video Banking Evolution

As I've reflected on my 20 years in video banking, it's been fun to see how far we've come. To highlight milestones in my video banking journey, I created this timeline. I hope you enjoy reviewing the milestones that have lead us here. Now let me welcome you to join us in the milestones to come.

-Gene Pranger

Request a demo to see where video banking is heading.


Video Banking Is More Than a Cool Science Project

Video provides tremendous benefits to banks and credit unions, but beware of meaningless "video science projects". By that I mean a deployment that merely proves that a team can get video to work, to see if people will use it, or to model the branch of the future.

Don't get me wrong, I get just as excited as anyone when an experiment works. However, technology is only as valuable as the business problem it solves.

I've worked with Gene Pranger for 10 years now, and our goal has always been to use video to transform the bank or credit union business. Video banking, when done right, offers much more than a Skype-like experience. It solves business problems.

In particular, video banking can substantially improve operational efficiencies and service. Here are four ways:

1. Convenient branch hours

For most credit unions and banks, providing convenient branch hours is extremely expensive. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, only 30% of Americans work remotely, which means 70% of your consumers find it inconvenient to visit your branch during working hours. That results in heavy branch traffic early in the morning, during lunch hour or at the end of the day. And it's not just your consumers who are inconvenienced; your branch employees must manage their time around the ebb and flow of branch traffic. POPin Video Banking solves this problem by providing face-to-face service from wherever your consumers may be, at their own convenience. You can extend these face-to-face service hours by using employees at a centralized, secure location without incurring the cost of extending or increasing staff in each branch. And, longer service hours can help with recruiting, especially among millennials, who want flexible work hours that don't conform to typical 8-to-5 workdays.

2. Compliance Assistance

Does your bank or credit union struggle to collect documentation required to process a change of address from remote consumers? What happens when a borrower submits all of their loan documentation... except one last thing? And then there's Reg D, the dreaded federal regulation that limits account holders to six electronic transfers per month. Complying with regulations, policies and procedures can be difficult for consumers who struggle to visit a branch due to business hours or because they live in another state. POPin Video Banking can provide substantial compliance support because the service supports document and signature collection.

3. Loan Workflow

Market research firm Forrester reported online loan application abandon rates were a staggering 97.5% in 2016. POPin Video allows you to provide personalized product expertise during the online application process to reduce abandonment rates. We also offer a structured workflow that ensures all forms are consistently signed and completed as efficiently as possible. So not only can POPin reduce your online abandon rate, but also provides a superior experience for consumers and your employees.

4. Security

POPin Video Banking provides face-to-face service for your consumers without compromising the security of your tellers. Video banking representatives have reported that they provide better service, particularly to irate consumers, because they know they are physically safe. Whether the consumer is angry because of an error, overdrawn account or loan denial, your employees have the confidence to handle the matter calmly and professionally.

As an industry let's stop video science projects and start deploying video solutions which solve meaningful business problems. POPin Video Banking collaboration is a great place to start. Not only will your bottom line experience relief, your employees and consumers will thank you too.

-Jed Taylor

Schedule a demo today!