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Rethinking the banking experience & financial advising services

Banks might be better-off optimizing their physical bank locations for older clients than trying to change behaviors.

Photo of Daniel Pimentel
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I have a few different ideas regarding this challenge. One of the first things I thought about was the fact that most of the research dealt with how digital experiences can be improved to increase usage by older customers. While some in their 50s and 60s have adapted well to the digital world, there's a significant portion of that population that will never be comfortable navigating digital products. 


While there is a trend for large banks to focus less on the growth of physical banking locations, it's important to note that smaller banks are still expanding heavily as far as physical banking locations are concerned (source below). Also, there will continue to be brick and mortar banks for the foreseeable future. As Gaurav Lal mentioned in his post, it's important to understand that older customers still prefer face-to-face interactions, especially when dealing with personal finance matters (maybe digital video solutions could be effective). While digital solutions are the "sexiest" opportunity for innovation, the customer experience in physical banking still has plenty room for improvement. These changes could attract more young and old clients alike. Check out how Capital One is introducing cafe-style banking locations in the sources below.

Growth of physical banking locationshttp://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/banks-more-likely-to-increase-than-decrease-physical-branches-with-one-exception-67755/

Improving the Physical Banking Experience: http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-this-a-coffee-shop-or-a-bank-1436225586


Another important point is that not all financial services are being included in the discussion. Longer lifespans and an older population pose huge implications for private financial advisors and wealth managers. Perhaps improving the experience for older clients has more to do with developing new complex software solutions that can better model ideal portfolio allocations to ensure that clients retirement & savings needs are being met adequately. 

Financial Advisor Discussing Implications to Industry: http://www.edelmanfinancial.com/education-center/articles/q/qa-how-does-a-longer-life-expectancy-affect-your-investments


With that being said, digital offerings are definitely not being designed to cater to older populations. There are  50+ year-old technologically savvy users. There are simple design tweaks that can be implemented to better cater to this demographic. Maybe all websites or apps should have an "elderly user" mode (hopefully with a nicer name). 

Design for Older Users: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/02/designing-digital-technology-for-the-elderly/


I know this post is on the lengthy side, but please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions! 


What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

1) Reconsider whether digital solutions will ever be the best way to cater to older clients 2) Physical Bank locations are still increasing in number and the customer experience can still be improved vastly to cater to older clients 3) Financial advisors & similar services are a big piece of the puzzle that haven't received as much attention as banks in this challenge

Tell us about your work experience:

Interned with a financial advisor the summer of 2015. He would constantly worry about the implications of longer lifespans and an older population on his business.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Daniel Pimentel thanks for sharing your thoughts around technology vs. physical environments.  Great provocations! You might want to check Tanvi Sinha  https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/research/designing-accessibility on home-visit managers and Hasan Ahmed Ansari on local branches https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/research/banks-encouraged-to-create-age-friendly-branches-for-less-digitally-savvy-older-people As a side note, may I suggest that you hyperlinked your references so that it's easier for people to check the links. 

Photo of Daniel Pimentel

Hi Anne-Laure! Thank you for sharing those contributions! Tanvi provides an excellent example of how the customer experience can still be vastly improved. Few banks have made deliberate efforts to optimize their services for the different demographics they serve. Hasan brings up a valuable point about how phone servicing could be a better approach to "mobile" banking for older customers than software (where most banks are currently investing heavily). I didn't realize my links weren't hyperlinked, but I just fixed that - thanks!

Photo of Hasan Ahmed Ansari

I agree with this article to a great extent. More than tech support or on-call assistance users in the 50+ age group have a hard time understanding the interface therefore it may be better to improve the in-person customer service in my opinion.

Photo of Lillian J Warner

Hi! I enjoyed reading this. What worries did the financial adviser you interned for have about the aging population/longer lifespans? 

Photo of Daniel Pimentel

There's a wide variety of implications. With people living longer, advisers now have to conduct life planning on a much longer timeline. People could have multiple careers in their lifetime; they could retire at 80 or 90 and still have 30-40 years in retirement left to budget for. These trends vastly complicate traditional approaches to advising.