As the number of vaccinated adults in the United States grows and the average rates of COVID-19 infections drops, bankers and their customers are eager to move ahead. But what does “move ahead” look like, and how has consumer demand changed over the course of the past year?
To answer this question, we at MX surveyed 1,000 randomly selected U.S. consumers with results published in our ultimate guides. Among many insights, we found that 87% of consumers say they now visit their bank branch less often than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, while 89% say they use mobile banking more often. We also found that a quarter of respondents said they’d currently feel insecure about their financial situation if they hadn’t received a third stimulus check, while half said that without the stimulus check they’d struggle to cover their monthly living expenses such as rent, mortgage, and recurring bills.
In other words, consumer demand for digital banking has surged at the same time that consumers have received an influx of stimulus cash — a shift that puts banks in a bit of a bind. As covered in an article from Bloomberg Opinion columnist Brian Chappatta, banks now face the largest gap in decades between a typical bank’s deposits at hand (which are high) and the demand for new loans (which is low). Given this gap, Chappatta writes, “In the near future, [banks] may need to rely even more heavily on revenue outside of their traditional business of making loans.”
Banks looking for these new revenue models in the wake of COVID-19 should know that the way forward must be digital first.
One possibility worth exploring is a subscription service, possibly in the vein of Amazon Prime. As Bradley Leimer, co-founder of Unconventional Ventures, says, “If banks can’t offer something more valuable than Amazon Prime, then we’re probably in the wrong business. I think we just need to retool our mindsets and put the customer at the heart of these decisions. What is at stake, in my opinion, is literally the future of the financial services model. The wolves are at the door.”
In light of this, financial institutions can ask themselves which benefits they offer could be packaged together for a monthly subscription. For example, Utah Community Credit Union (UCCU) has developed a product called UCCU Prime, which gives members services including $600 per claim in cell phone protection in the event their phone is broken or stolen, $80 in coverage for roadside assistance (4x a year), a $10,000 reimbursement in expenses in the event of stolen identity, $10,000 travel accidental death coverage, special deals for local businesses, travel discounts nationwide, debit card rewards, and more — all for $6 a month. As UCCU creates new offerings, they can add them to the bundle and increase this revenue stream.
This is just one of many possibilities that comes with looking at banking with a new pair of eyes as we work to put COVID-19 behind us and explore new revenue streams.