Millennials and Gen Z digital natives may take to digital banking readily, security and personalization issues appear to hold sway.

With the significant interest in the Singapore banking industry with 21 organizations submitting their applications for digital bank licenses to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), it is clear that the interested parties see pot of gold at the end of the digital banks rainbow.

However, new research from Adobe has revealed that physical bank branches remain an essential touchpoint. After surveying over 1,000 people across generations in the US, the Adobe Consumer Banking Insights study has found that 75% of consumers still believe that physical bank branches matter, and 70% have visited a physical branch at least once in the past month.

More than half of the respondents said that most of their banking is conducted online, but even with convenience at their fingertips, consumers also said more could be done:

  • 62% said their banks’ digital offerings are just average compared with the rest of their digital lives
  • More than half (57%) of all respondents said they have never digitally signed a document with their banks, while 41% would like their banks to offer this ability
  • Most (59%) said they would not do business with banks that didn’t offer digital or mobile services

Craig Peasley, director of marketing at Adobe, believes that data shows that there is still room to delight customers with offerings that combine the face-to-face service that’s still popular and digital offerings. “There’s a shift that’s occurring in banking right now, and it’s driven by the fact that younger consumers are coming of age and getting their own bank accounts,” Peasley added.

The study also found that Millennials and Generation Z, in particular, preferred banking via mobile apps and were more likely to state they would not bank with a financial institution that had limited or no online and mobile services. What is more:

  • 44% of Millennial and Gen Z customers would even like to start and finish applications to open an account without ever walking into a bank
  • Despite these generational differences, security and privacy remain the number one factor for all age groups when choosing a bank:
    • The majority (76%) cited security and privacy as key considerations when digitally enrolling for a banking service
    • 50% said they worry about the safety of their finances with online-only banks

Applying these US-centric insights, banks in Singapore—the smallest but most digital-savvy island in the SE Asia region—can perform their own research to overcome the disparate challenges of digital banking in the different Asian countries.