Millennials: The Next Great Challenge and Opportunity for the Banking Industry Author's Picture

Posted by
Ken Burgess

Millennials: The Next Great Challenge and Opportunity for the Banking Industry

I attended the American Bankers Association’s annual convention in Dallas last week. I had the opportunity to listen to a three-member panel of millennials speak to a crowd of about 1,200 bankers from all over the country about what millennials look for from their bank and what they look for when deciding who to go to work for. I am happy to say that one of the panelist (Katie Boyd) works for FirstCapital Bank. I was impressed by the professionalism of each panelist and by the ideas they expressed to the room full of bank CEOs. I came away with a strong feeling that the banks of the future must learn how to relate to the millennial generation (also known as Generation Y) or risk being left behind by this dynamic and entrepreneurial group.


The millennial generation is considered to be those people currently in the age group of 19 to 37 and total almost 80 million people at present. There are estimates that millennials will make up 40% of the work force within the next 10 years. Ignoring the wants and needs of this generation will be a very risky proposition.

The panelists at the convention talked about what they look for as a customer of a bank and what they look for from the company they decide to work for. Some of the ideas discussed were:

What millennials look for in a bank.

  1. Millennials desire a relationship with the bank they decide to work with. For this reason, many prefer banking with a community bank.
  2. While millennials say they would like to have a relationship with their bank or banker, they also say that mobile banking is very important to them. They have grown up with technology and they have a strong tendency to look for a bank with the best digital service delivery.
  3. Millennials are looking for financial training and advice from their bank.
  4. Most millennials carry very little cash and desire service delivery from their bank that eliminates their need to carry cash.

What millennials look for in a job.

  1. First of all, millennials have a tendency to be very entrepreneurial. For this reason, they will likely look for jobs in which they can place their own stamp.
  2. Millennials are looking for value in life; they want what they do to matter. They will be looking for jobs where they can exercise that need.
  3. Millennials raised in the digital world want to communicate digitally and graphically. Communication by text and social channels is important to them.

This is only a partial list of the tendencies of the millennial generation, but it gives a strong indication that banks and all companies have a lot of work to do to adapt to a generation of people who will soon be the dominate group in the workplace and the marketplace.