This three-part, generational blog series features fictionalized characters and includes information from our eBook, How to Attract Multiple Generations to Open New Accounts and Apply for Loans.
Zeke, the Gen Zer, is one of 72 million members of Generation Z born between 1997 and 2012. Zeke and his cohorts were influenced by smartphones, social media, a country constantly at war, and watching their Generation X parents struggle financially during the 2008 recession, according to Pew Research.
Zeke, who received his first mobile phone when he was around 10, grew up playing with his parents' mobile devices and now he spends an average of four hours and 15 minutes on his mobile device every day. Since Zeke is a true digital native, he prefers to use his smartphone for mobile banking.
According to a 2019 Morgan Stanley study, 80% of Gen Z smartphone users take advantage of mobile banking. For example, Zeke uses Venmo to send and receive money for expenses as well as his daily activities.
Financial Services & Gen Z Preferences
As young adults, Zeke and other Gen Zers are likely just beginning their financial journeys, which opens up significant marketing opportunities for banks and credit unions. First, these financial institutions need to understand what makes Gen Zers tick.
Zeke is practical and frugal. Because he watched his parents' financial struggles, he takes a conservative approach to how he manages his money.
When it comes to his financial journey, Zeke is concerned about owning a home, retiring and being debt-free. In fact, 91% of Gen Zers plan to buy their own homes one day and 69% say saving for retirement should be a priority. To reach these goals, Zeke and other members of Generation Z are opening savings accounts at younger ages than previous generations.
Zeke says he likes learning about personal finance. While he may be young, Zeke is already interested in achieving financial independence, which is why he wants financial advice and education. If you offer Gen Zers financial education materials on your website, you’ll likely get their attention. Zeke and his Generation Z cohorts want a truly digital customer experience with the same level of personalization offered by the other platforms they use.
A Personalized Experience Is Key
Such companies as Netflix, TikTok and Amazon are shaping Zeke's expectations for extremely personalized experiences. These organizations use algorithms to customize suggestions for content and products that Zeke might like based on his interactions with them, earning his loyalty.
Banks and credit unions should follow their lead and build personalized incentives and programs to attract and retain Zeke and other Gen Zers. For example, you can get creative with incentives and rewards programs tied to helping Zeke achieve his financial goals. You could offer him an incentive for successfully saving for a down payment on a home, or if he's a football fan, reward him with a chance to win two tickets to an NFL game for achieving a goal of paying down student debt.
Zeke says he also prefers visual and transparent communications using Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok, and FaceTime and he welcomes video, voice-command, online, and mobile-only approaches.
Since Zeke is tech-savvy across all digital channels, you should offer Zeke bite-size, to-the-point, practical content that grabs his attention and adds value to his banking experience. For instance, you could explain the mortgage lending process to him, offer information about how he can save for his first down payment, and other tips that help him better understand the entire home-buying experience. Zeke says he's not really interested in the flash; rather, he wants you to tell him how you can help him achieve financial security.
Maintain a Strong Social Media Presence
Since Zeke grew up with computers and the Internet as well as smartphones, banks and credit unions need to offer him self-service options through web portals and apps. Additionally, Zeke says while he usually relies on friends and family for input about various issues, he also does his own research on the Internet.
As such, you should maintain a strong social media presence and present your financial institution in a positive light by highlighting good consumer reviews and sharing them with Zeke and other members of Generation Z via social media, for instance.
As Zeke uses Venmo to send and receive money, banks and credit unions would do well to offer peer-to-peer payment technology within their mobile banking app so he can send secure payments to family and friends from his mobile device.
It’s important to understand how Zeke and his generation think when it comes to determining what services and products you should offer them and which digital offerings you should expand and/or enhance. If you don't offer Zeke what he needs, he'll look to your competitors.
Digital Lending Enablement
MeridianLink enables lenders to give Gen Zers what they want: an online account opening, and borrowing experience for mortgages and consumers loans, while streamlining the process for your loan officers and underwriters. Talk to one of our digital lending experts to assess your current loan origination process needs to see if MeridianLink is right for you.