NFU Blog

Back to Basics

Financial services have over the last decade experienced heavy technological disruptions. Many things related to your bank have now become automated or digitized. Today it is incredibly easy to pay bills over an application on the phone for example.

Last week, I was reminded of the importance of face-to-face meetings. I was listening to a presentation in Copenhagen on a qualitative study on the relationship between young people, the Generation Z, and their bank.

The research was done through interviews with 18 to 25 years old Danish consumers and showed that the banks could do better by altering their behavior towards this specific age group and find tailor-made solutions for them. The research showed that the banks often project their own self-image on to their customers instead of putting people before products. Today these group of bank customers were perceived much more as a potential risk than an opportunity, according to the study.

In the interviews, several of the respondents replied that they inherited the same bank as their parents and that they never have been approached by a financial advisor. This created a distance between the respondents and their banks – where many told that they were very nervous about entering branches to talk to their financial advisors about a potential loan. Financial stress can easily hit this group who might be extra vulnerable – and without personal relations it can lead to unhealthy coping behavior.

The group of 20-something underlined the need to have face-to-face meetings with their personal financial advisors also in the digital age. The trust between the customer and financial advisor is created when the advisor can provide you with an extra service, for example taking a meeting even after closing hours if needed.

In the 1960’s, companies tried to envision how the future kitchen would look like. They imagined that every process was automated and digitalized.  This is quite the opposite today – where conversation and social interaction over cooking has become the norm for many.

Technology can never replace sitting down and talking to your personal financial advisor. Research shows that customers want the opportunity to sit down for a chat about their financial future with someone who understands their financial situation and takes the time to tailor a financial plan for them.  Financial knowledge and taking responsibility for your financial future might just start with that simple cup of coffee with your personal financial advisor at the local branch.

Ann-Helen Hopland

European Coordinator
Email: ahh@nordicfinancialunions.org
Phone: +46 702 707 566

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