Banks could teach politicians a thing or two when it comes to thinking ahead. This is a statement that feels all wrong given the financial crash of 2008. But Brexit makes me think differently.
I recently wrote yet another article about the speed at which banks are being changed by the habits of people aged 18 to 24 years old, known as milliennials. I couldn’t help thinking that banks, which can’t afford anymore self-harm are doing what young people want to protect their future, whereas the government isn’t, because it doesn’t need to.
Banks understand they must provide for young people that prefer digital banking. And demand can only grow as these young people now won’t revert to branch based banking when they get older and those not even born yet who will think the current digital banking offerings are old fashioned. Banks have no choice but to offer what these people want or the will use another bank.
But in contrast Brexit supporting politicians, who are actually a powerful minority, don’t consider the youth vote in the same way. They seem to think they know what is best for the young rather than letting them decide. Or, more realistically, they are doing it for themselves and their backers.
The article I was writing was about some research from Visa that found that 69% of millennials in the UK use Mobile banking apps to manage their finances. So the banks know that the future is mobile app based banking and as a result they are investing heavily in it.
In the UK as a whole, taking in all age groups, the research found that 38% regularly use apps to bank compared to 62% that don’t use them regularly. If banks decided to change their strategy based on a one-off vote they might end up ditching digital banking and investing more in branches. Ha ha.
According to data from YouGov, published just after the June 23 2016 referendum, 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted to remain in the European Union. But in total about 37% of the electorate voted to leave the EU, compared to about 35% that wanted to remain. Then there was getting on for 30% of the electorate that didn’t vote. Then there was lots of people that were too young to vote, but with strong views.
Banks for all their sins actually understand, and it is not rocket science, that what young people want is important, because they are the future. If they didn’t follow this they would cease to exist in a few years.