Companies & Industries

Banks, watch your backs: Millennial clients have almost no loyalty

Younger account holders more likely to search reward options online—and jump ship for something better

Canada’s big banks better start updating their customer retention strategies, according to the findings of a Google Consumer Survey looking at retail banking in this country. Millennials, a generation broadly branded as shiftless and flighty, make up an increasing portion of the country’s workers and wealthy, and they’re less tied to their account providers than the population as a whole.

The Gen-Yers surveyed were 1.5 times as likely to have shifted or considered shifting banks in the past year as the general population. Their priorities and sources of information were also different, with 55% using the Internet to find information and 39% looking up reward program details. An earlier survey suggested that younger customers are nearly twice as likely to consider switching to an all-online bank like the recently-rebranded Tangerine.

READ: ING Direct’s “Tangerine” rebrand only works if Scotiabank leaves it alone »

The country’s major financial institutions have emphasized customer service since the turn of the decade, rolling out futuristic concept branches and launching mobile applications in an effort to keep account holders from straying. Banks are keen to keep account and card-holders in-house as much as possible, with good reason—cash accounts for only 10% of Canadian’s payments by value, making for some juicy transaction fees.

Perhaps surprisingly for a generation so associated with gadgets and gizmos, millennials are not much more likely to use their financial institution’s app to do their banking, with 53% having downloaded it versus 48% for the population as a whole.

The full findings of the survey:

Infographic showing the findings of Google's survey of retail banking in Canada