Gen Y And Bank Branches: A Message For Branchaholics

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CU Times reported on a study conducted by Fiserv which found that:

“Gen Y members do not limit themselves to online and mobile banking — they’re more likely than any other age segment to visit a branch, drive up to an ATM or phone a call center.”

My take: This is not a cause for Branchaholic celebration.

Not to denigrate the Fiserv study, but this is hardly the first survey to find that — lo and behold! — Gen Yers go into bank and credit union branches.

Branchaholics — i.e., delusionary people in financial services who fail to admit to the reality that branches are dying out, and worse, want to invest tons of money to make bank branches look like something that would be featured in a Star Wars movie, or worse, look like Starbucks — take these data points, and say “See!? Branches aren’t dead.”

But what the Branchaholics aren’t acknowledging is what these studies (often) fail to ask: Why did Gen Yers use bank/credit union branches?

I don’t have research data to back up my assertion, but here it is anyway: 99% of the time, Gen Yers use branches because they can’t get their problem resolved in any other channel. Simply put, Gen Yers use branches not because they want to, but because they have to.

And it’s painful for them. I mean, really, have you seen this sub-species of human? They don’t know how to talk with their mouths. But they sure can type faster than Nicki Minaj can rap (or whatever you call that).

Bottom line: Don’t use Gen Y branch usage data as a sign that branches aren’t dead, or are coming back to life. It’s actually a sign that the other channels — the digital channels — aren’t doing a good enough job. 

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