Chapter 5Not Your Father’s Banking Habits

Baby Boomers (post–WWII generation) and Generation-X (their kids) have in common the need to experience life in all its glory. Whether that is born out of a sense of adventure, from the need for tactile feedback, or in the sense of face-to-face social connections, at the core of much of our buying behavior historically has been the need to touch and feel a product before a purchase. There’s a subtle shift in this behavior with Gen-Y and Gen-Z/digital natives (sometimes collectively called Generation-M or the multitasking generation) that is critical to understand if any organization is going to engage this community successfully moving forward, and it emphasizes why the physical store is under increased threat.

In the banking space, I am often confronted with passionate arguments for why face-to-face interactions, why the availability of advice and the psychological comfort of brick-and-mortar spaces, still matter. The problem is that those describing these values are inevitably Baby Boomers or Gen-X consumers, describing their comfort levels and buying behaviors. There are a number of key trends we can observe today that signify an abandonment of this traditional buying behavior for the next generation of customers.


The past 10 to 15 years has already seen a significant shift in buying behavior as a result of changing distribution models. When the web started to mature and the dot-com phenomenon emerged, ...

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