Ha ha… ha… No, not really. Especially as I’m writing this sandwiched between the Saturday when I hurt my back for the first time ever on a roller coaster and the Saturday on which I will attend my 10-year high school reunion.
No, Taylor Swift, I most definitely do not feel twenty-two.
What is it about us twenty-somethings anyway? We have too much student debt, we don’t want to get married or buy houses or have babies – we’re just screwing up everything, aren’t we? (I say this with a kind of self-effacing, humble affection for my similarly-situated peers, mind you.)
Anyway, I write this all as a preface to the topic I really wanted to introduce: millennials and community banks. Or rather, millennials and not community banks. At least according to this recent survey from GoBankingRates.com.
You can read it for yourself, but the gist is that folks 65 years of age or above prefer community banks, people aged 34 to 44 prefer credit unions, and 18 to 24 year-olds prefer national banks.
First, I wondered about the banking preferences of 45 to 64 year olds, not to mention 25 to 33 year-olds, of which I am one.
But secondly, one of the apparent conclusions you might draw from this is that we student-debt-having, adulthood-avoiding millennials just don’t like community banks.
While I think it’s a dubious conclusion, at best, I have a few theories for why that might be.
First of all, twenty-somethings are generally in a state of flux. We may go to college far from the town where we grew up, and we may move yet again – multiple times, even – for grad school or jobs after school. We may travel after school, either outside of the country or across the country. And although the proliferation of mobile banking technologies may mean that you can take your hometown main street bank along with you, I tend to think that’s not too well-known among my generation.
That segues nicely into my second point, which is marketing. Ostensibly, big banks have big marketing departments. And who do you see on college campuses peddling checking accounts and credit cards (the latter of which yours truly believes to be morally reprehensible) to college freshmen on their own for the first time? Bank of America. CitiBank. Chase.
I’ve now entered the dreaded late 20s, so I’m actually seeing more of my peers make financial decisions with a little more consideration. Credit unions seem to be a popular choice. Certainly, I think there’s some potential for community banks and credit unions to make inroads in my generation, especially among the Occupy types who don’t trust big banks. That seems like a prime opportunity for a good local bank to say, “We didn’t engage in sub-prime lending, we didn’t get bailed out by the federal government, and we have free checking! We can even do the Harlem Shake!”
But what do you think? Are twenty-somethings a market worth pursuing? Or are we all just too broke to be worth it?