Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

What You Can Learn from Younger Customers

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

What You Can Learn from Younger Customers

Article excerpt

Today's youth may not be the largest percentage of a bank's current customers, but they are the group that holds the keys to its future.

"All of us, at this point in time, have to question what's our future?" says Doug Tippens, president and CEO of $184.1 million-assets Bank of Commerce, Yukon, Okla. "If you don't care and you don't want to find out, then you really are in the dark." Tippens has attempted to shed light on what's to come by holding quarterly focus groups with youth. "The reason why I decided to have these focus group meetings is to try to understand how they think about technology and how does that relate to the bank itself?" he says. "My fear is that one day, we will wake up as old, 'codgy' bankers and all my customers will be gone because I didn't embrace technology."

Tippens has rounded up participants under 40 years old from area colleges and businesses. He's discovered technology is king and most transactions are conducted online: "They want the least amount of friction on the transaction as possible."

Jean Scherrer, vice-president of retail banking at $83.5 million-assets Fox River State Bank, Burlington, Wis., also has noticed the trend toward transacting online. Her bank recently held a focus group with 17 year-old high school seniors. She discovered they use their phones for everything. "People are taking advantage of the technology and using mobile banking and online services," says Scherrer. "I think, sadly, bricks and mortars will be going away over time. …

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