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To retain customers, banks are empowering them

  • 68 percent of customers age 18-34 say they would welcome PFM offerings.
  • A near equal percentage say that receiving such a service would make them more loyal to their bank.
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To retain customers, banks are empowering them

Being a bank used to be simple. The branch was the main point of interaction with customers. Serving a captive clientele was fun and easy. Customers could demand a service with a smile, but that was the extent of value added services a bank would offer.

Those days are long gone. Geography doesn’t play as much a role as it did before the advent of mobile. Customers think of banks more as personal finance tools, rather than just a huge ledger keeping tabs on their money.

“Middle class Americans want to feel in control of their finances,” said Chris Cox, head of digital banking and VP mobile payment solutions at First Data.

According to a recent survey First Data conducted of bank customers, bank customers think of their banks as a cash flow management solution, empowering them to make better financial decisions. They demand their banks to ‘play nice’ with other financial institutions, incorporating third-party data, and providing information that is more comprehensive, insightful and actionable.

With high customer expectations, there’s low customer loyalty. Only 55.1 percent of bank clients said they are likely to stay with their bank in the next 6 weeks, according to the 2016 retail banking survey. Less than 40 percent said they will refer a friend to their bank.

In North America, 68 percent of customers aged 18-34 say they would welcome receiving Personal Finance Management offerings like a “safe-to-spend” analysis from their bank, according to Accenture. A near equal percentage say that receiving such a service would make them more loyal to their bank.

PFM

Customers demanded, and banks are starting to listen. Many banks now offer PFM solutions as part of their digital offerings either by building them in-house or by partnering with startups.

Deutsche Bank, for example, launched its PFM FinanzPlaner, developed by financial software company Strands. The banking software company also developed BBVA’s Mi Dia a Dia and has also worked with Barclays and BNP on similar products.

ING recently launched a slew of digital money management products. The bank added a forecasting feature to its mobile banking app in the Netherlands. ING in Spain launched a digital financial advisor called My Money Coach and a similar one was launched in France.

Barclays’ PFM solution is open even to non-customers, highlighting the importance of such an offering for customer retention and acquisition.

“Customers see banks as financial experts, with unique knowledge about them,” Cox concluded.

People expect their financial institutions to leverage that expertise and data to offer useful advice, ultimately making their lives easier.

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