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Traditional banks triumph in Gen Z’s Top 10

In a world dominated by digital solutions, traditional banking has managed to capture the loyalty and trust of this generation. So, what exactly is it about legacy banks that continue to maintain Gen Z’s unwavering preference over their digital counterparts?

Lydia Daniel Consultant 10 January 2024
We recently launched BrandVue’s Most Loved Financial Services report 2023, and the results reveal a surprising fondness for traditional banks amongst Generation Z.

Despite Monzo securing a spot in Gen Z’s top 10, more traditional banks are standing their ground…

Our digitally native Gen Z (currently aged between 11 and 26) are known for pioneering new trends and having an affinity with socially aware brands. But when it comes to Brand Love, legacy banks have secured their place in Gen Z’s Top 10, with Lloyds, Barclays, and NatWest ranking 4th, 5th, and 8th, respectively. These brands might not top the overall league table, but they’ve certainly captured Gen Z’s hearts.

Prioritising peace of mind

In times of uncertainty, consumers prioritise security and stability. Savanta’s State of the Youth Nation Tracker reveals that 45% are concerned about their future, with money worries close behind at 43%.

Thus it would appear the link between Brand Love and trust is strong for this generation, with 7 in 10 stating they trust banks. This trust exceeds that in influencers and celebrities, which stands at only 8%. Despite being the primary target for these financial influencers, Gen Z still values family advice, with 36% claiming to hold accounts at the same bank as their parents.

From crypto craze to conservative choices

In recent years, we have also seen a trend towards Gen Z building wealth outside traditional financial systems. However, the proportion of Gen Z owning cryptocurrency has fallen from 12% to 9%, and those believing that crypto “will change the world” has decreased from 42% to 26%. Novelty and hype were big pull factors for those initially investing in alternative currencies, and the volatile nature triggered feelings of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out).

In these unpredictable times, we’re seeing Gen Z turn to traditional financial routes. As the dream of homeownership and achieving life goals appears increasingly unattainable, they may be looking to familiar brands to improve their odds and offer some much-needed stability.

The keys to the next generation’s hearts

Many young people also feel ill-equipped to make significant financial decisions, and look to companies offering education and tools to assist. Brands that can provide personalised and tailored solutions, such as flexible loan repayment, insurance plans, or gamified savings and rewards, have the potential to guide Gen Z towards informed decisions, ultimately building trust, loyalty, and Brand Love.

Marketing for the modern generation

Traditional banks are actively communicating their willingness to assist through various marketing campaigns. Lloyds Bank, for example, recently launched their ‘Smart Start’ campaign, merging the tangible benefits of setting up a spending and savings account for 11–15-year-olds with the emotional benefit of building financial confidence. The brand’s commercial, ‘Bike’, follows a young girl as she does just that, and her challenge of learning to ride a bike is supported by the instantly recognisable black horse every step of the way.

Similarly, NatWest’s ‘Thrive’ initiative, in collaboration with Marcus Rashford, creates safe spaces for young people to learn money management skills and features testimonies from young entrepreneurs. Their motivational ‘Tomorrow begins today’ campaign reassures customers that the bank can help them achieve their goals, even amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. By partnering with TikTok creators to produce organic content showcasing their achievements, NatWest reached 15.8m people across the UK and substantially increased favourability towards the NatWest brand (+14%), especially amongst Gen Z.

Why traditional banks still hold the crown

The enduring appeal of traditional banks among Gen Z is firmly rooted in trust and stability. While neobank Monzo is clearly piquing their interest, the foundations of trust keep them tied to well-established institutions. These youngsters may experiment with the novel services offered by neobanks, but when it comes to substantial commitments, the assurance provided by these longstanding banks proves invaluable.

The insights found in this article are taken from BrandVue Financial Services – the largest, most granular brand, audience and customer tracker in the market. To find out more about the UK’s Most Loved Financial Services Brands and access the full Top 100 league table, download our free report below.

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