A Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research report shows that 33 per cent of millennials say they won't need a branch in five years. The same report says that 50 per cent of millennials expect Silicon Valley start up companies to modernize banking for the world. There is a recent shift towards virtual banking, roboadvisors, and away from brick and mortar branches. What could the banks do to modernize their vast network of branches to entice millennials back into their doors? Apple, Nike and other retailers have mastered retailing to millennials by innovating and creating a new experience. Banks need to do the same.
Money Genius Bars: Clients are hungry for more information to be better with their money but making an appointment, sitting in a dingy office and then being sold on an entire array of products is too exhausting a thought to make the effort. If banks had approachable money geniuses that would demonstrate tactics and strategies in a non-threatening way, branches would be packed like Apple stores. Make the information quick, actionable and fun.
Community Help: Millennials instantly go to the net to find solutions to their problems. You can watch a YouTube video on how to assemble your new Baby Buggy 5000. Why not be able to learn about ETFs vs. mutual funds or fixed vs. variable mortgages in your jammies with Pickles the cat? These videos could play in the background of the branches when people are waiting in line to get some "learning." Banks need to learn customer behaviours and then tailor information and platforms to match.
Social Customer Service: Banks know all too well that when people have complaints, they go to Facebook or Twitter to air them. Why not take community management to the next level and through direct messages allow customer service to transfer money, take off holds, and change monthly payments from monthly to variable? I'd send flowers to my bank if I could have these simple tasks achieved by a tweet or message. Security and regulations need to catch up to people's behaviours.
Goals and Values vs. Products: Instead of walking into a branch and being hit in the face by confusing products like mortgage rates, GIC rates or new products, you should be met by a money coach. Figure out what your values, goals and belief system is towards money and then use products to support them. If negative belief systems around money are always getting in the way of personal success, the focus should be around changing those belief systems. Nothing gets people to save more than hopes and a plan!
Celebrate Success: Apple celebrates when someone buys their first iPhone when they come out. Why don't we celebrate and bolster support for people who are achieving financial freedom by paying off their credit card or mortgage. Or have support groups for small business owners, retirees, students or people just starting out and saving for their first home or little munchkin. We all need a welcoming community where everyone can go and share money tips and tax tips. A place of knowledge and support that enables you to get to a place of financial freedom. People would run, not walk, to a branch that was full of positive people and mentors to help you achieve your goals.
Money isn't about numbers. It is about people, and values, and goals. The centre of a bank or for anyone coaching people to be better with their money should reflect that. It should be like a Home Depot for finances -- we can show you and cheer you on to do it yourself or be here for the hard stuff and take your hand when you need it. That is a branch that would not only benefit banks and their profits but society overall. Free lattes too! They have to have free lattes!
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