I am a millennial.
I graduated from New York University in May 2014 with some hefty student loans. And, aside from my savings and checking accounts, these loans have been my entrée into the complicated world of financial institutions. While I won’t name the specific institutions I’ve worked with, I will say that almost every interaction I’ve had has been unpleasant. Calling, waiting on hold for hours, speaking to agents who have no ability to help me, transferring to new agents and explaining issues all over again, and very little email correspondence– I would characterize every step as the antithesis of what millennials expect from a reputable business. If this is our first interaction with a financial institution, is it any wonder why millennials want nothing to do with them?
This morning I came across a great article from TechCrunch, “Millennials Are Destroying Banks, And It’s The Banks’ Fault“, that poses a lot of interesting questions, and even more creative challenges to the financial institutions vying for millennial customers. With an estimated $30 trillion wealth transfer from baby boomers to millennials coming up, banks are realizing that, despite astronomical student loans and a new set of recession-influenced priorities, millennials will not be poor forever. But will they trust the traditional banks that their parents used for their own wealth? That much is unclear.
Why aren’t financial institutions catering to millennials in the same ways that seemingly every other industry is? This article rightly points out that, in most cases, the changes that millennials want are happily accepted amongst members of other generations. Simplicity, transparency, and efficient communication. I’m not the only millennial who has not experienced any of these attributes when dealing with my student loans, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s how the remainder of my financial experiences will be, until financial institutions learn how to engage with millennials.
Offering creative products and services that cater to my generation, as this article advises, is one of the ways that financial institutions can start to win over millennials. Using thoughtful and efficient communications is not a small component to overlook and at Canopy, I’m learning how to find the right way to engage millennials, instead of just talking to them. One thing is clear–the financial institutions that are not offering or marketing their financial products and services to tomorrow’s largest market demographic are missing a huge opportunity.
by: Jacqueline Goldberg, Canopy’s Resident Millennial