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From the GET OFF MY LAWN department…

The Millennial generation, those born between 1977 and 1995, are regularly featured in the news as a massively negative driving force. It seems hardly a day goes by when Millennials aren’t eating avocado toast, living in their parents’ basements, or destroying an industry. This group is so maligned in the media that most of them (over 60%) refuse to identify with the generational label.

Can we blame them? Who wants to be regularly blamed for destroying things like razors, beer, weddings, and napkins?

But do you know what this much-maligned generation isn’t killing? Bank and credit union branches.

Study after study is pushing online and mobile banking as the preferred method for younger generations. But reports from Celent show over half of banking customers report visiting branches for information, get answers to questions, open new accounts, or get a loan. In fact, the preferred method for lengthy topics and complex issues is to visit a branch.

Recent reports from Bankrate.com show a fifth of younger people may be far more likely to bank digitally, yet have visited a branch in the past week. An even larger portion had visited within the past 28 days. Even post-pandemic, forty percent of Millennials report preferring to open a deposit account in the branch, at the ATM, or through a medium that allows them to connect with a representative.

Continued below…

Chart of Different Generations Likelihood to Use Negative Descriptions About Their Own Generation
Illustration of Expensive Avocado Toast

Mmmmm, Avocado Toast.

What About ATMs?

In case you haven’t heard, Millennials are slowly killing credit cards. More than forty percent pay in cash or use debit for groceries and restaurant meals. Close behind, 37% also pay for their gasoline in the same manner. Why? Because this group saw what happened during the 2008 recession. They lived through it. They saw their parents, friends, family members, or even themselves get pulled down by debt when job losses or lack of opportunity prevented timely payback.

Credit card companies and their partners may lament Millennials “missing out” on earning points for purchases they would already be making. This group prefers to avoid the risk of carrying a balance and paying interest on their purchases. Instead, they grab their debit card, load Venmo on their phones, and hit up the nearest ATM.

According to the Federal Reserve, nearly half of transactions under $25 are paid in cash. The majority (60%) of purchase under $10 are also paid this way. As a result, they view ATMs as an important aspect of how they manage their money.

So… What does this mean for financial institutions?

Credit union and bank CEOs can breathe a sigh of relief. But not too big a sigh. After all, the majority (90%) of average account holders use financial institution websites or mobile apps to perform standard banking services. Most (70%) use digital or mobile to pay bills several times a month.

The relief should come from realizing that these digitally-focused consumers have a preference for self-service. But they still rely on the comfort, convenience, and service of ATM access and their financial institution’s branch.

The real question is whether their financial institutions are meeting them halfway. After all, how do you think digitally savvy account holders are looking for branches and ATMs? With mobile app and digital location services, of course.

Services like the Wave2 locator can help banks and credit unions reach Millennials more effectively by providing digital-first account holders with the robust interaction they need to make branch and ATM locations easy and fun to find. With easy mobile and digital API implementation, users can search for exactly the type of branch or ATM experience they want – including surcharge-free, deposit-taking, ITM, drive-ups, loans, and in-person branch operations.

So, Millennials might not be killing off huge parts of the banking industry. But they are certainly creating a brand-new landscape in which credit unions and banks must learn to live.

Find out how the Wave2 locator can help your financial institution with all of these issues and much more!

Wave2 Contact:
Jason Green, Co-Founder
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