Magazine article Independent Banker

Reaching Maturity

Magazine article Independent Banker

Reaching Maturity

Article excerpt

How to keep and build your bank's senior relationships

The senior market has changed. It's not your grandparents' generation. It's a larger group and the folks in it are healthier, living longer and have a younger state-of-mind. The U.S. average life expectancy has increased to 77, up from 47 in 1900. Today, 64.2 million Americans are over age 50, and this group controls 43 percent of the country's $300 billion in discretionary income, according to Primelife, a consulting firm in Orange, Calif.

Seniors represent a group of consumers with particular life-stage needs and, in turn, specific financial services needs. They are less likely to carry debt, but are very concerned about funding their retirement years, covering escalating health care costs and not becoming a financial burden to their children.

Other issues seniors may face are completing payments on their children's college or graduate school education; convenient bill payment and banking while traveling; rolling over pension plans or IRAs; and estate planning. They are also looking for conveniences while they pursue active lives.

Here are some things you can do to position your bank to reach this important market segment.

Consider New Product Offerings-Direct deposit (payroll, pension or Social Security checks), investment services, life insurance and coverages for long-term care benefits are just a few new product areas to consider providing. Fixedincome mutual funds, reverse mortgages and annuities are others.

Also, many seniors travel or spend periods of time at a second home. Debit and ATM cards, bill payment and home banking (phone or PC) give them the convenience to keep their banking relationships with you no matter where they go.

Add a Senior Club-Package together appropriate services and benefits to attract and retain mature customers. Such programs include special travel discounts or planned group trips; newsletters; discounts or free services; bonus rates on time deposits; and social events. …

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