Why Some Millennials Still Come to the Branch

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Some Gen Yers still have a fondness for brick-and-mortar branches.

Though more than half of banking customers aged 25 to 34 prefer to monitor their primary balances and accounts through online banking, 25% of them say they have a predilection to conduct regular transactions within a bank branch, finds new research released Tuesday by Javelin Strategy & Research.

Javelin estimates that each in-person transaction at a branch costs a financial institution about $4.25, while an online channel transaction averages $0.19 and a mobile channel interaction averages $0.10.

Why do digitally savvy Gen Yers come to a physical branch? "One reason why is because they are developing their financial footing," says Mark Schwanhausser, director of multichannel financial services and one of the report's authors. "They need some hand holding."

Picture a young adult, living paycheck to paycheck, who is working at a smaller company that lacks direct deposit, for example. Perhaps he comes to a branch in order for his check to clear faster than it might through digital alternatives, says Schwanhausser.

The age segment, which he calls Y.2, "do what they need to do to make their dollars stretch," Schwanhausser says. To that end, another salient theme emerging from the report pointed to how members of Gen Y aren't all the same. "People have a tendency to look at a generation of people as a single entity," says Schwanhausser. "There are differences in personality."

Javelin split the generation into two groups: Y.1 (18 to 24 years old), a segment that has yet to fully enter the financial system, and Y.2 (25 to 34 years old), a financially maturing group. The research, gleaned from three surveys, shows that Y.2 mobile phone owners are more than three times as likely to say they are extremely or very careful about taking risks for financial investments, jobs, among other things, than to say they are willing to take on risks. Meanwhile, 25% of Y.1 consumers say they don't manage their money at all.

The report recommends that financial institutions offer services that help young adults better manage their finances by providing services such as cash flow analysis and mobile alerts.

Generation Y represents almost a third of the nation's 240 million adults.

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