Millennials are receptive to a wide variety of non-traditional organizations as financial providers, according to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research entitled, Millennials: Financial Insights.  Millennial respondents indicated their current usage or likelihood of using a number of well-known but nontraditional financial providers to meet their banking or financial needs.  Current financial experience with these organizations has been limited, but almost two-thirds of Millennials do in fact have a PayPal account. In terms of organizations they are likely to use for banking or financial services, the widest response is to Amazon and Google – each cited by about four in ten Millennials.  One-third identify PayPal; Apple is cited by three in ten.  One-fourth to one-fifth are likely to do business with a number of other organizations.

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Genie M Driskill, COO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “It goes without saying that Millennials are one of the most talked about segments in financial services marketing today.  This segment is large – with an estimated 80 million consumers – and has been labeled by some as the most influential generation ever.  According to findings from our survey, it is clear that Millennials are not necessarily wed to the traditional banking and financial system.  Millennials are not going to abandon traditional financial providers; however, they will look at all types of organizations including non-traditional providers to meet their financial needs.  Traditional providers are faced with a challenge to show how their products and services have value and utility in this increasingly competitive environment.  Aspects such as ease of access, reliable technology, trust in the ability to securely manage personal data, and competitive pricing may all be key.”

These are among the findings from SYNERGISTICS study, Millennials: Financial Insights, featuring 1,000 Internet interviews comprised of 700 interviews with consumers ages 18 to 34, 150 with those ages 35 to 50, and 150 with those ages 51 to 69.  This study examines the financial services profile of Millennials (Gen Y).  Their attitudes and involvement with depository accounts, investments, and financial providers are explored.


Decision Making and Application Process

Sources of Information and Advice; Education

Relationship Acquisition and Expansion

Key Finding from the Report:

Findings from SYNERGISTICS 2015 Home Equity Lending Monitor reveal that eight in ten homeowners report having a first mortgage. Incidence of first mortgages is found to be highly correlated with age declining as age increases.

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Highlights of the Study

Since 2001, SYNERGISTICS has conducted its annual Home Equity Lending Monitor and based on client feedback has decided to launch an annual examination of the mortgage market.  The 2016 inaugural edition of the Mortgage Market Monitor is being conducted to track and measure the many aspects of the consumer mortgage shopping and decision process.  The Monitor features a series of multiphase research elements including a targeted background research, an extensive national consumer survey, a management presentation, and a strategically oriented project report.  This annual monitor will benefit the entire mortgage market team including market research, product management, database marketing, communications and advertising, and risk management.


National Online Survey – 1,500 total interviews with financial decision makers age 18+ with a particular focus on current homeowners and buyers entering the market.

Key Dates

January 29, 2016 – Charter fee/Intro pricing ends.

January 29, 2016 – Final acceptance of comments on questionnaire.

April 2016 – Project Report available.

Strategic Objectives

  • Size the mortgage market and evaluate trends in a changing environment.
  • Examine the consumer decision making process and sources of information and advice regarding the mortgage market.
  • Identify strategies for acquisition, expansion, and retention.
  • Determine provider selection factors and measure satisfaction with current and/or past mortgage loan providers.
  • Assess the impact of the housing and credit markets on consumer behavior.
  • Identify key target markets.
  • Monitor the ongoing impact of refinancing.
  • Evaluate the role of new channels such as mobile phones, tablets, and other devices.



From Transactions to Sales

Approaches to Staffing

Branch Size and Functions

Key Finding from the Report:

Results from SYNERGISTICS 2014 study, The Era of Self-Service Banking, found that tellers and other personnel are widely used during branch visits.  However, ATMs are also being used extensively at branches.  Are consumers ready to accept ATMs as a replacement for tellers at branches?

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Highlights of the Study

This study evaluates branch usage patterns, improvements and innovations, as well as the role of branches going forward.  It will assist providers in identifying strategies for positioning, redesigning and configuring branches.
National Internet Survey – 1,000 consumers age 18 or older.

Key Dates

December 18, 2015 – Charter fee/Intro pricing ends.
December 18, 2015 – Final acceptance of comments on questionnaire.
March 2016 – Project Report available.

Strategic Questions

  • What is the position of the branch as a consumer contact point in terms of frequency of overall monthly visits? How does this vary between inside visits, drive-up visits, and other purposes?  How important are convenient branches as a provider selection factor?  What types of activities are performed at branches?  How important is the role of branches in initial account acquisition and further cross-selling?
  • Has consumer branch usage increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the past five and one year periods? How have other channels – such as ATMs, online banking, and mobile banking – impacted branch activity?
  • What are the reasons or motivations some consumers use branches instead of other available – and potentially more convenient – channels? In contrast, why do some consumers choose not to use branches?
  • How do consumers view automation and technology in branches – as a means for branch staff to provide better customer service or as an option for customers to perform self-service?  Do customers in general desire future improvements in branch technology?
  • What role do or can alternative facilities play in meeting consumers’ needs for branch contact?   How widespread is usage of in-store branches and online direct banks?   What is the potential for self-service kiosks?  Does video conference capability expand the appeal of kiosks?
  • How wide is overall satisfaction with branches among consumers? How important are specific aspects such as transaction speed and accuracy, number and convenience of locations, hours of operation, and staff competence and friendliness? What features, services, or staffing capabilities would consumers see as being improvements at their primary branch?
  • Which consumer identifiers – such as demographic variables, behavioral patterns, or attitudinal traits – are most useful in designing and implementing branch configuration strategies?

Research Issues

  • Branches will remain the heart of delivery systems for many financial institutions. However, it is inescapable that this facility needs to be reshaped for the future.  Consumer branch behavior is changing as check usage declines and usage of remote banking alternatives such as online and mobile banking and remote deposit capture grow.  In this new digital age, providers are faced with the dilemma of how to make branches more efficient and cost-effective, while at the same time improving the customer experience by offering financial advice and consultations.
  • New branch redesigns are emphasizing the advisory, customer service, and sales roles these facilities play in the financial behavior of consumers.  Even technology addicts come to branches when they want to make important financial decisions or open more complex products.  Many providers are employing universal staffing so that one representative can serve the varying needs of customers from advice and sales to transactions.  As an aid in enhancing service at the branch some providers are encouraging customers to make appointments with a banker using their mobile phone.
  • There is also an increasing emphasis on moving routine teller transactions to self-service options such as automated deposit terminals, cash recyclers, videoconference terminals, and enhanced ATMs that perform a variety of new functions from cashing checks to the penny to issuing cards.  What is the reaction of consumers to these self-service or automated options at the branch?  The function or role of the branch is not the only aspect that is evolving – branches are also becoming smaller in size.  Will consumers accept smaller branches with fewer staff and more automation?  This survey will explore consumer reaction to new approaches to branch staffing, function, and size to assist providers in designing cost-effective and efficient branch facilities. [F241]