Why Gen Zers prefer Wells Fargo and Millennials like Bank of America

Raj Sangha
by Raj Sangha

More than decade on from the financial crisis that shook the retail banking sector to its core and the US market has an almost radiant glow in comparison – but how exactly do consumers feel about the nation’s leading banks in 2020?

In the Qudini 2020 US Retail Banking White Paper, we surveyed just over 2,000 consumers of age brackets throughout the US to get their thoughts on today’s retail banking sector.

It should come as no surprise to hear that the Big Four banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank) were the most popular banks with our survey respondents, as well as scoring the highest in terms of brand awareness, brand and marketing, customer service and in-store experience. But how did these banks stack up against one another, and who will take the lead in the pivotal years to come?

Here’s some of our key insights:

Bank of America has the lead, for now

Overall, Bank of America had the highest percentage of customers in our survey, with just under a fifth (19.5%) saying they have an account with the bank. This is followed closely by JPMorgan Chase at 17.7% and Wells Fargo at 17%. Citibank occupied a more modest 7.3%.

The number of customers in the survey seemed to correspond to the number of branches that each bank had. For instance, Citibank only has 723 branches in the US, while Bank of America has over 4,000, so it makes sense that there are fewer Citibank customers amongst our survey respondents.

On a generational level, Bank of America secured the most Millennial customers at 24%, followed closely by JPMorgan Chase at 23%.

Bank of America also had the highest level of brand awareness, with 87% of respondents saying they’ve heard of the bank before. This was followed closely by Wells Fargo at 86%, Citibank at 79% and JPMorgan Chase at 78%. Gen Zers (79%), Millennials (83%) and Gen Xers (88%) were also more likely to have heard of Bank of America over other banks, while Baby Boomers were more aware of Wells Fargo (93%).

Overall, Bank of America was also said to have the strongest in-branch experience (20%), brand and marketing (26%), online banking experience (20%) and strongest general customer experience (20%).

Download our US report

Wells Fargo captures the hearts, minds and pockets of Gen Zers

Somewhat surprisingly, Generation Z respondents (those aged between 16 and 23 years of age) were most likely to bank with Wells Fargo, with almost a quarter (23%) saying they are members of the bank, a significant increase from the generational average of 17%.

The decision Gen Zers made to bank with Wells Fargo was heavily influenced by family members’ choice of provider (almost half said this was the case), however, they also shared strong opinions of affection towards the retail bank, preferring its brand and marketing, in-branch experience, online banking experience and customer service to other banks.

While Bank of America currently has the upper hand in the retail banking sphere, Gen Zers will soon occupy a large proportion of the working population and Wells Fargo’s influence could easily flip the current status quo on its head.

Find out how banks can create a great customer experience during Covid-19 

JPMorgan has the best branches in America

When asked what banks were the strongest and most relevant overall, JPMorgan Chase received the highest percentage points, with 48% stating that its offering was strong and relevant, and a further 29% stating it is average and somewhat relevant.

Regarding the overall customer experience as a whole, again, the majority voted for JPMorgan Chase (69%), followed closely by Bank of America which sat one percentage point behind.

In addition, out of the survey respondents who had visited a bank branch within the last two years, JPMorgan Chase was rated the best, with 28% saying it was excellent or very good. Bank of America came in closely behind at 27%.

While a world-class omni-channel offering is crucial for success, banks should continue investing in their in-branch customer experience – it was considered the most important factor when choosing a banking provider by the vast majority.

Read our Qudini 2020 US Retail Banking White Paper for more insights into consumer behaviors, preferences and demands for the retail banking sector.

Retail banking is in a revolution and branches are transforming into brand interaction hubs that improve profitability and brand relevance. Qudini helps retail banks meet the demands of modern consumers with our in-branch Retail Choreography software solutions – Appointment Scheduling Software, Queue Management Software, Task Management Software and Event Management Software.

Find out more about our solutions here.

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