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Insights Firm Brooks Bell Finds 28% of Gen Z Consumers that Recently Switched Banks Cite Branch Location as a Key Factor

August 4, 2022

Suzi Tripp


Recent research from nearly 750 U.S. consumers reveals behaviors and generational preferences around financial outlook, banking experience and customer expectations

RALEIGH, N.C. — August 4, 2022 — Brooks Bell, the digital transformation firm dedicated to helping global brands build remarkable customer experiences through conversion rate optimization and personalization, today released its latest research-driven report, “Banking Personas.” The report provides business decision makers with data-driven insights on U.S. consumer banking preferences and expectations to inform better customer engagement.

“Finance and banking customer needs are constantly evolving, thanks to rapid shifts in technology, heightened consumer expectations and the changing ways we live our lives,” said Suzi Tripp, VP of Insights at Brooks Bell. “Gaining valuable insights into your customers now is crucial to help design future experiences and retain members during a time when a plethora of new banking options are available. We hope this focused look at different consumer groups across generations helps brands build and test new customer experiences, and experiment with ways to refresh existing features to exceed customer expectations and provide impactful resources.”

Brooks Bell surveyed nearly 750 U.S. consumers in Q2 2022 who shared their sentiment towards a range of experiences from their financial institutions and banking interactions:

  • Banking relationships are all about location, location, location…and fees. 1/3 of consumers cited lower account fees and minimums as a reason they switched banks and 1/4 cited branch location as a key factor. Surprisingly, Gen Z is more likely to be concerned with physical locations of their branches than any other age group — 28% of that audience say it’s a reason they switched institutions.This points to a disconnect between in-branch and online experience, which banks can dig into and then take action to incorporate that solution online (i.e. Is the quality of information sharing better in-branch for some reason?).
  • 1/3 of respondents chose “hope” to describe their financial situation. However, 1 in 5 of respondents describing themselves as hopeful also self-defined as “struggling.” This points to an opportunity for financial institutions to provide more guidance and empowerment – 33% of consumers are bringing optimism with them, and it’s important that their banking interactions continue their hopefulness and build their confidence.
  • Asian (53%) and Black (38%) respondents have the most hopeful outlooks on their financial situations — but Hispanic or Latinx bank customers aren’t as confident (22%), and Indigenous communities are even less so (11%). Banks have an opportunity to adjust strategies to meet the needs of these less hopeful groups. In the growing Hispanic and Latinx populations in the U.S., for example, the top three features this demographic looks for in a bank are overdraft protection, fraud and identity protection, and nearby ATMs.
  • 37% of cryptocurrency investors are concerned about the amount of debt they hold. And while the “crypto bro” stereotype held up in the findings (25% of men surveyed hold cryptocurrency investments compared to 10% of women surveyed), the majority of both men and women plan to invest in some level of cryptocurrency over the next 10 years (64% of men, compared to 51% of women).
  • 38% of self-defined, financially “thriving” consumers have overdrawn their checking account at least three times in the past year, which may indicate that they have funds spread across different accounts with balances that they aren’t monitoring closely. This demographic also has a high rate of in-person bank visits (45%) –  and branch location is the top consideration for 70% of those who switched banks in the past 24 months. 
  • 1/3 of Millennials are concerned about debt and 43% of financially-independent Millennials describe themselves as “struggling.” Gen Z uses “anger” and “power” to describe their financial situations more than any other generation, whereas Millennials are more likely to use “overwhelm” and “enthusiasm.” This somewhat paradoxical combination of traits further supports the need for personalized experiences that acknowledge which end of the spectrum their customer is on.

“By testing tools to make customers’ unique situations better — like budgeting apps or consolidation cards for the “strugglers” group — banks can make a huge difference in their lives and earn long-term loyalty that will pay dividends when their financial situations turn around,” said Tripp. “At Brooks Bell, we know that understanding your customers isn’t a one and done activity. Fostering a consistent experimentation program focused on customer insights is key to supporting both memorable customer experiences and positively impacting a business’ bottom line.” 

To download the full report and uncover more insights on consumer sentiment toward banking, including opportunities for optimizing customer engagement to each persona group, visit this link: https://www.brooksbell.com/resource/white-paper/banking-personas-data-report/.


About Brooks Bell

Founded in 2003, Brooks Bell is a consulting firm focused exclusively on building insight-driven organizations. The consulting firm has spent the last 18 years building world-class optimization programs and helping companies leverage data, human-centered design and technology to deliver a better customer experience. Their engagements are focused on generating consumer insights that can be utilized effectively throughout organizations. Brooks Bell enables teams to take full ownership of their testing, personalization, analytics and user research programs to become masters of their own experimentation success. Learn more at www.brooksbell.com.

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Walker Sands for Brooks Bell

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