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Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds

The TD Bank Financial Education Survey polled those aged 18-34 on their banking habits.

Millennials are cautious banking customers and take few risks when managing their money, according to findings from the TD Bank Financial Education Survey.

The survey defines millennials as those age 18-34, and surveyed 2,000 such consumers. Overall, 47 percent of respondents describe their financial personality as being cautious when it comes to overall personal finance habits.

Further, the survey found many in this age bracket rely on financial institutions and family members when seeking financial advice. 49 percent said they see their parents as primary influencers in shaping their banking and financial views. Meanwhile, 40 percent say they still turn to parents and family members as a source of information. Interestingly, 54 percent of responding millennials are going in to their bank branch for information, while 62 percent are going online.

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While 59 percent of millennials reported that they are "extremely" or "very" knowledgeable about their day-to-day banking products like checking accounts, they still want advice on personal finance topics, such as savings, creating a budget or credit cards.

In addition, few of the respondents claim to have had formal financial education training, such as a class at school, a seminar at a local bank or online courses, while 69 percent reported they had received no financial education lessons at all.

Ninety percent of survey respondents said they use online or mobile tools for their everyday banking activities, such as checking balances or paying bills, and 57 percent said they are using mobile banking more frequently than they were last year.

Those polled also said they check their balance and banking activities daily (35 percent) or weekly (53 percent). While checking their balance is the most popular activity online, the survey found that they are still visiting bank branches as frequently as they did last year, mostly to deposit or withdraw money. Those who do their banking in a branch feel it is more secure and enjoy the in-person service, the survey found.

[See Also: Younger Millennials Carry Less Debt Than Older Counterparts, PNC Study Finds]

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
3/11/2014 | 3:50:24 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Interesting that more than half the millennials surveyed say they go to the branch for information. It just proves my point; people like human interaction and don't want to do everything on a mobile phone. All the "branch haters" must realize this. Long live the branch!
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Strategist
3/11/2014 | 4:55:16 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Yes, but what I think is really significant is that they are using ALL channels -- it's not like they only go to the branch and don't use any other channels. "Ninety percent of survey respondents said they use online or mobile tools for their everyday banking activities" --so I would say these stats underscore the importance of having a robust multi-channel strategy, including but not elevating the branch.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 5:48:21 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
I wouldn't say it's about preferring human interaction. It's about the capability of the phone/web portal. Also, it probably doesn't say much about phone service that I would often rather walk to the bank and wait in line than wait on hold and go through IVR.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 5:50:51 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Some of us do enjoy human interaction in our daily lives...
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 9:15:49 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Bryan, as a fellow branch-lover, I also felt this survey was in our favor. This survey said in-branch interactions were preferred for security and interaction purposes - exactly!

I also feel a comparison can be made to going through a regular dial menu "Press one to check your balance, 2 to report a missing card, 3 to.." We all know the preferred option is to slam 0 until a live person is on the line. We feel our questions/intentions are dynamic, and there's no way preselected options are going to meet our needs. Nate, yes, going to someone in person and asking that question may take longer then going through a phone service, but that time is spent in a less frustrating way.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 9:34:43 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Good point, especially if you have something more complicated to discuss than can really be dealt with ona mobile phone.
Us branch lovers rule.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 9:44:14 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Those dial menus fill me with rage. I'll walk/drive for miles to deal with someone in person if it means avoiding that experience. Why do they always speak so sloooowlyyyyyyyy
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
3/11/2014 | 4:52:05 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
I'm not too surprised that 69% hadn't taken a financial education class. As far as I know, many high schools don't offer those and a lot of colleges primarily offer them to business students. While they can find courses online, people shouldn't have to go looking for a financial education as adults when they could/should have gotten it earlier.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 9:19:20 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
TBH, I took financial education classes in high school, even majored in economics, but when it came down to making and updating my own budget and monitoring my accounts I felt like I was at stage one, Google was my best friend. I am SHOCKED only 62 percent are going online for information.
Carp01
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Carp01,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/11/2014 | 8:08:21 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Thanks for this article. Interesting information. Do we perceive the adoption of any new channel in addition to existing channels at all as a new thing? ATMs, online banking, mobile banking have all been touted as leading to the demise of the branch in their own era. But what we see is more bank usage as new channels appear without much impact on the stress of the other channels. I would venture to say that the decline in transaction volume in traditional brick and mortar locations is more a factor of our change in spending (more use of credit/debit cards and less reliance on cash and checks) than what alternative channels are available. I am interested however, why people are not saying that mobile banking is leading to the demise of the ATM. Shouldn't ATM and Online banking activity decrease as a result of the mobile channel? Personally I think we are going to see a revolution in branches in the effect of smaller locations, greater flexibility of what employees can do (Sales and Transactions), and quite possibly more locations than exist now. Look to the insurance industry as an example. What is the geographic footprint of insurance offices compared to bank branches?
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
3/12/2014 | 12:30:00 AM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Thanks for the comment, glad you liked the article. I agree, the wave of commentary saying mobile will be "the death of the branch" is not going to be proved true. Supposedly, these people say, millennials don't want to go to branches, but surveys such as this indicate otherwise. If anything, it just shows that mobile is becoming a major part of the channel mix for the average consumer, and banks must serve customers effectively in all these channels.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 3:17:15 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Mobile is becoming more important, but I think millennials (and consumers in general) use mobile capabilities and bank branch for very different functions. Personally, I use my phone to check my balance or pay bills, but when I wanted to open a new account I went to the branch so I could speak with someone and learn more about different options.
JGarner721
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JGarner721,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2014 | 4:47:20 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Each financial institution will have to perform a cost benefit analysis to dictate their future use of branches. Does it fit the business model they need to support their current customers and future ones? Personally, the element of convenience will ultimately specific the channels available.
Ivy Schmerken
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Ivy Schmerken,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 1:41:35 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
It's interesting to me that 49 percent of millenials rely on their parents/families for shaping their financial and banking views. This could be because they trust their parents and it's easier to ask someone you know well for advice, rather than go into a bank or seek a financial advisers. On the education front, isn't it time to offer financial management and investing in schools? That is, if they have time in between all the standardized testing going on.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 2:47:58 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Yeah I think that 49 percent figure relates to the other point about most in this age group not having financial education. They have nowhere else to turn.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 3:08:06 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Convenience may also have a lot to do with it - many millennials live with their parents or find it easier to call them than drive to a branch when they have a financial question.
Ivy Schmerken
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Ivy Schmerken,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 4:01:26 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
In addition to convenience, could it be that they trust their parents and that they feel more comfortable asking them rather than speaking to someone they don't know at a financial firm? Parents could be the first step, but ultimately they will need to contact a financial firm or bank and/or conduct research via the web.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 4:19:20 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
That's a good point too. Parents serve as a trusted source for basic financial questions, but eventually it's necessary to go to a branch or research online for more complex advice. Personally, I've found branches to be very helpful in answering my more complicated questions.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 9:33:11 PM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Mom knows best! During the transitional period when millennial are taking over joint accounts, building their own accounts and generally taking on the responsibilities, parents are a first step to understanding what needs to be done/ what's possible. Sometimes it's easier asking the dumb questions to family and Google before speaking to a professional. I think of it like walking into a car dealership without first asking your brother for advice.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
3/28/2014 | 11:41:55 AM
re: Millennials are Cautious Banking Customers, Survey Finds
Interesting study. Yes, it seems that millennials are using all channels. But I think the usage of the branch might be overstated here. "The survey found that they are still visiting bank branches as
frequently as they did last year, mostly to deposit or withdraw money." I'm guessing that in most of the cases, "deposit and withdraw money" means using an ATM at the branch, which is far different than waiting in line to talk to a teller to withdraw money.
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