We live in the age of the customer, as American Banker’s recent Financial Services Marketing & Innovation Symposium in New York made clear. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways from the event earlier this month.
First, the banking sector is placing increasing focus on developing products and services for the unbanked and underbanked, a category that includes 28% of U.S. households. Consumer trust in banks took a big hit in the aftermath of the financial crisis, leading some people to shift away from traditional financial services. Meanwhile, some millennials are rejecting the banking sector altogether. Now a demographic that was once targeted by select financial institutions is being pursued by global powerhouses like American Express, which offers two products-Serve, a prepaid card, and Bluebird, an online checking account-aimed at this customer segment.
American Express’s experience working with unbanked and underbanked customers has shown that the average person wants financial institutions to “show me you know me, reflect who I am and respect me,” according to Mary Ellen Jelenek, who heads the company’s Serve and Bluebird portfolios. That’s a relevant message for every customer segment.
It’s also important to note that mobile banking is an essential part of reaching and servicing this population. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reports that 32% of underbanked customers use mobile as their primary banking channel, as opposed to 22% of fully-banked customers.
Read the rest at AmericanBanker.com