Here's how local banks are marketing themselves Gen Z customers

Banks in the Boston area are working to keep up with the needs of Gen Z, the first generation to grow up in a digital-first era.

Here's how local banks are marketing themselves Gen Z customers

"We want to be where the younger generation is," said Ron Molina Brantley, FVP and relationship manager at Berkshire Bank. Berkshire Bank has been working to develop its digital strategy in order to appeal to Gen Z. Customers can use the bank's mobile app to access account information, make payments, pay bills and deposit money.

Molina-Brantley stated that the financial institution is no longer your parents'. This generation does not want to visit a brick-and-mortar building.

Brendan Coughlin is the head of consumer banking at Citizens Bank. Twenty years ago, customers would consider their proximity to branch locations when choosing a bank. He said that Gen Z customers today choose their bank on the basis of its digital capabilities. According to a 2023 Chase Digital Banking Attitudes Study, 89% of Gen Z prefer mobile banking apps. A study by Deloitte found that during the Covid-19 epidemic, digital banking usage spiked in almost all banks across the nation.

Citizens, the second largest bank in the State by deposits, also works to keep up with the digitalization of banking.

Coughlin stated that it is important that younger people have access to a bank which is modern and can adapt to their lifestyle.

Coughlin noted that, although the bank doesn't make much money from younger customers, it is just as important to get them involved at a young age. Coughlin says it's harder to convince someone in their fifties or forties to switch to Citizens, because they are so "entrenched" in banking.

If you want to create a successful bank in the long-term, then you need to get your customers engaged with your brand when they are young. If you can deliver on your promises, you will keep them.

Coughlin explained that having a presence on the internet is not enough. A bank must also offer value-creating products.

Citizens created 'Peace of Mind' programs with the younger demographic in view. Customers who overdraw their accounts are given a grace period of 24 hours before they will be charged a fee.

Executives in banking don't anticipate that physical branches will disappear completely. Coughlin says that although Gen Z is a digital native generation, this isn't entirely true when it comes their banking behavior.

Gen Z needs only their phones for simple banking transactions. Coughlin explained that if Gen Z wants to have a serious conversation, they will want to see someone's whites.

They still want to see a physical presence, and know they're part of a legit financial institution. They want to know that they are part of a legitimate financial institution and still see a physical location.

JP Morgan Chase & Co. puts a lot of emphasis on its Chase mobile banking application, especially for the younger demographic. Matt Gromada is the head of JPMorgan's family and student banking. He said that two digital projects are particularly helpful to this demographic.

Autosave is a tool which allows customers to select a certain amount to be transferred from their checking account to their savings. Credit Journey is a tool that allows Chase customers and non-customers to get tips and tactics for improving their credit scores.

Gromada, however, said that JP Morgan Chase places a high value on its physical branches. The bank has deliberately expanded its physical presence since opening as a retail banking institution in Massachusetts in 2018. Its recent acquisition of First Republic may make it the number one bank in Massachusetts.