Gen Z prefers banks to big techs, but shuns branches

A survey of college-age consumers with banking relationships uncovers some major pluses for banks and credit unions (namely trust), but a serious question mark for that mainstay of retail banking, the branch.

Millennials may take the prize as the most analyzed generation, from a marketing standpoint, but the next-younger generation, Gen Z, isn’t far behind. Considering that as of 2020 the youngest members of Gen Z are still five years old, that may seem a little over the top.

It’s not. Gen Z is nearly as big a generation as Millennials, and the older half of it, roughly age 15 to 25 in 2020, is both immediately relevant for bank and credit union marketers and an important indicator of future consumer expectations.

For the third year straight, Manole Capital Management (MCM), a fintech-focused hedge fund, surveyed Gen Z consumers specifically about their banking and payment preferences. The sample group of nearly 300 college students ranged in age from 18 to 25, most of them still in college, but all with established banking relationships. Eight out of ten respondents were banking with a major national bank, the rest had accounts with community banks or credit unions. The survey was taken just as COVID was ramping up in the U.S.


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