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For some time now, there has been growing acceptance in the UK that physical bank branches are becoming less and less relevant. Remember the NatWest ad from 2001 that followed an elderly lady in her search for a bank branch that hadn’t been turned into a trendy wine bar? A decade and a half later, December 2015 data from Experian Marketing Services illustrated just how far the humble bank branch has fallen from grace, particularly among younger age groups. It found that just 9% of millennial internet users in Great Britain preferred to bank in-branch, with the vast majority preferring to bank online via websites or else via mobile apps.
Of course, the fact the lady in the NatWest ad was advanced in years was no coincidence. Older age groups typically remain wedded to traditional behaviors for longer, and banking is no exception. March 2015 research from the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) found that just 34% of over-65s were online bankers vs. 84% of respondents ages 18 to 44 who said they were.
Something that was also noticeable in the CMA research was the frequency of digital banking use—67% of 18-to-44-year-old digital banking users in the UK used such a service at least weekly, with over a quarter of that group doing so daily. And this pattern was played out in the Experian study, too. It found that mobile banking activities conducted by millennials in Great Britain were most likely to be day-to-day banking actions, cited by 43% of respondents.
Millennials, it seems, are daily digital bankers, particularly when mobile’s in the frame. And what are the odds that many of them are still frequenting their branch, albeit in its new guise of a trendy wine bar?
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