Banks of all sizes are getting more creative in trying to appeal to Gen Z.
Bank of America and Clinton Savings Bank, an eight-branch bank based in Massachusetts, are two examples of financial institutions that woo members of the public while they are still in high school, if not before.
Although accounts for young customers – Gen Z includes anyone born from 1996 onwards – largely resemble those available for adults, with a few kid-friendly tweaks, both banks are energizing their offerings in other ways, from a reputable financial education centre. to a budding influencer program.
High school tellers, social media influencers
Clinton Savings Bank, with assets of $629.3 million, has two high school branches. They are fully functional branches reserved for students and teachers of their schools, and trained students serve as scrutineers.
So far, the two secondary schools with branches – in Bolton and Boylston – plan to hold in-person classes, so this year’s training program will continue as planned. Clinton could move her training online if plans change.
The community bank nurtures its young clientele in many ways. Several years ago, he partnered with Banzai, an online financial literacy program that simulates real-life financial scenarios for students, and sponsors the program for local middle and high schools upon request. The program is free for educators and students once sponsored by a bank or credit union.
Clinton also has an eye on students.
“We’re always thinking about what we could do next,” said Ellen McGovern, director of marketing at Clinton Savings.
Recently, McGovern and his team created a social media ambassador program for Massachusetts students. They sought out students with 5,000 or more followers on their social media accounts and recruited them as influencers who could promote the bank’s services to their peers.
Ambassadors receive a box of Clinton-branded goodies, including water bottles, travel mugs, and headphones, and will receive a monthly deposit into their checking accounts provided they post regularly — often with free material online. main – on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. A draft letter to ambassadors indicated that the monthly deposit would be $200.
Although ambassadors are in place, the program has been filed until January as many colleges begin the school year online. For similar reasons, Clinton is also delaying another college-focused initiative: partnering with professors to present a class project to their marketing and communications students, who will be tasked with designing a promotion for a student checking account – with a budget for video production.
Clinton consulted with students when creating her Get Real Checking and Get Real Statement Savings accounts for Gen Z customers. (Student input is also the origin of the “Get Real” moniker.) For Kids primary school age, the Scratch Kids Club Savings Account comes with its very own mascot, Scratch the Savings Cat, who visits schools and interacts with students.
Deposits in these dedicated accounts have increased year on year. By July 2019, Clinton had amassed $1.6 million in Get Real Checking deposits, $1.4 million in Get Real savings, and $214,000 in Scratch savings. Last July, overall balances grew to $2.4 million in checks, $1.8 million in savings, and $244,000 in Scratch savings.
“When you look at the bigger picture, you don’t think it’s a lot, but for us, we’re moving in a positive trend,” McGovern said. “These are our customers for our future.”
Online learning, college branches
Students under 24 will not pay monthly maintenance fees for Advantage SafeBalance, Advantage Plus, or Bank of America Advantage Chequing Accounts. Digital features, such as money management tools and virtual assistant Erica, are open to everyone.
“The basic products we offer everyone are also the ones we offer students,” said Kevin Condon, product manager for consumer deposit products at Bank of America. “We think it helps them stay with us longer because they understand and have access to digital features.”
The bank has advanced its schedule for targeting its young audience.
“Increasingly, students are coming to college campuses with a relationship with a financial institution,” Condon said. “In the past, they’ve come forward and needed a local verification relationship. So we extended earlier in high school to establish a relationship as early as possible.
In 2013, Bank of America partnered with Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that produces learning resources, to develop BetterMoneyHabits.com, an educational website with articles, infographics, and videos covering a wide range of financial topics. While the content is intended for all audiences, “it helps young adults become more financially resilient by giving them resources, tools, and tips to build a budget, set financial goals, and start adopting healthy behaviors. savings,” Condon said.
In a 2019 report by research and analytics firm Raddon on Generation Z, the author wrote that Bank of America’s partnership with the Khan Academy “is a great example of combining authenticity with topics of interest. learning modules that allow for learning tailored to individual areas of interest as opposed to general topics, which can seem daunting Financial education via video is one of the primary ways to reach Gen Z, according to Raddon.
Bank of America also has about 100 branches which it calls Student Centers. These are located near college campuses, are sometimes decorated in school colors, and are staffed by employees who are familiar with Better Money Habits educational materials.
Students “are a vital part of our annual outreach and marketing efforts,” Condon said.
Granted, traditional banks don’t offer the same elaborate Gen Z banking services as some challenger banks, with apps that track jobs, digitize allowances and integrate charitable donations.
“Banks can reflavor [these accounts] a little, but there’s not a lot of effort to change or revise what kids need,” Andrew Vahrenkamp, senior research analyst at Raddon, said in a July interview.
But unlike most challenger banks aimed at young customers, full-service institutions can more seamlessly accommodate them as they age into more valuable lifetime customers.
“Fintechs often have a great idea, and they implement it, and it’s great. But they might not have the next big idea,” Vahrenkamp said.