Nearly nine in 10 baby boomers (89%) currently have at least one checking, savings, or money market account at a bank or another financial institution. But Gallup’s 2013 retail banking study shows that just 12% of baby boomers with active bank accounts trust banks a “great deal,” with the majority placing only “some” or “very little” trust in these institutions.
Notably, nearly as many boomers (11%) have very little trust in banks, compared to the 12% that have a great deal of trust. By contrast, 25% of “millennials” (those born between 1980 and 1996, according to Gallup) have a great deal of trust, while 18% of Generation X (1965-1979) do. I don’t know about you, but these results are roughly opposite of what I would have expected. Younger consumers (forgive me while I over-generalize) tend to be more liberal and therefore might be expected to be more distrustful of big business generally. And they’re certainly more tech-savvy than older consumers, and are thus likely more discriminating in their appraisal of, say, banks’ online and mobile offerings. And yet compared to the older baby boomers, youngsters are positively slavish in their devotion to banks. Fully 59% of millennials have either a great deal or quite a lot of trust in banks versus just 46% of boomers. This says a lot about the state of retail banking these days,and not much of it’s good. The baby boom cohort is bigger than both Gen X and the millennials, and considerably more affluent. Its financial needs are broader and are more complex. Given this, I’ll grant you that boomers aren’t easy to please. But one would think that Job 1 in executive suites at banks around the country would be devising strategies to woo baby-boom types and keep them happy. And yet on that score, the banking industry seems to be failing miserably. The banking industry has plenty of problems these days: new, costly regulation, for instance, a distribution system that’s in flux, and reams of bad publicity. The least the industry might manage to do, it would seem, is figure a way to keep one of its key customer segments happy. But no. What do you think? Let me know !