WASHINGTON (5/30/14)--Google, T-Mobile, Wal-Mart. These are not names normally associated with the financial industry.
But a survey by Accenture of 4,000 Americans has found, especially in young consumers, that if these tech giants and others offered services similar to credit unions and other financial institutions, many would flock to their doors.
Digitally, of course.
The 2014 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey found that 72% of people age 18 to 34 would manage finances with tech and retail companies such as Wal-Mart, Google or T-Mobile if they offered banking services.
The survey also found that nearly 40% of Canadian and U.S. adults under 35 would switch to an online-only, or branchless bank, compared with 29% of consumers age 35 to 55 and 16% of consumers over 55.
"The game is changing for banking in Canada and the U.S., and tomorrow's consumer is coming of age with a very different perception of what a bank could be," said Jodie Wallis, managing director of Accenture's Canadian banking practice (The Wall Street Journal May 27). "These new customer expectations will prove disruptive to banks, if non-bank entrants gain momentum and if banks do not adapt quickly."
While these retail giants have yet to evolve into fully functional financial institutions--which would require obtaining a bank charter, as Wal-Mart tried and failed to accomplish several years ago due in large part to opposition from the banking industry--several still have started offering certain financial products.
Some offer prepaid debit cards, allow consumers to make purchases and deposit checks with smartphone cameras, provide check-cashing services, and even offer cash loans to businesses, such as Square's recently unveiled cash advance program (See News Now May 29).
If credit unions and other financial institutions want to keep up with these tech giants, some say, they have to step it up.
"Digital technologies are dissolving the boundaries between industry sectors," Juan Pedro Moreno, Accenture global banking practice senior managing director, told The Wall Street Journal. "For banks, simply being 'more digital' versions of what they are today will not be enough to assure success in the future."
Other key findings of the survey: