How to keep seniors coming to digital banking after America reopens

COVID-19 branch closures and call center backlogs pushed many of the nation's senior citizens to a digital threshold they'd never crossed before. Many made the move to mobile and online banking in the national emergency. Here are tips to help banks and credit unions maintain and build on this social shift as the 'new normal' begins.

Much has been made of how during the coronavirus pandemic senior citizens have been trying out digital banking and getting used to this leap from traditional branch banking transactions.

Figures cited to back this up vary from study to study. There’s also a fair amount of anecdotal evidence cited, such as a community banker’s story of how his own nearly-80-year-old mother tried mobile banking after COVID-19 hit. He told The Financial Brand that she says she may stick with digital channels.

“The pandemic is forcing seniors and other vulnerable populations to need to be online all of a sudden,” Tom Kamber, Founder and Executive Director of Older Adults Technology Services, says in a blog interview for Capital One. Kamber’s group developed a set of free videos called “Ready, Set, Bank” for Capital One several years ago to train senior citizens in many aspects of mobile and online banking channels. The 44 nonbranded videos feature senior citizens speaking with friendly confidence about each transaction type.

The conclusion many draw is that a beneficial side effect of the unhappy COVID-19 period is an acceleration by years of consumer behavioral change. One can argue that this has indeed happened or that people are succumbing to fears about touching money or ever going into a branch again. Or one can play the skeptic, and ask how much of this “evolution” is merely because seniors’ alternative was waiting hours in drive-through lanes or finding workarounds like having kids or even grandkids do their banking.

 

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