Numerous surveys continue to highlight financial literacy gaps among U.S. adults and children, illustrating the ongoing need for financial education programs (according to a Step survey, 97% of teens believe that financial literacy is important). Many financial firms and their partners have been at the forefront in developing and distributing innovative financial education programs. The following are noteworthy financial education trends in the 3rd quarter of 2021.
Build engagement with younger segments through financial education programs and content. Firms are looking at a wide range of channels to reach younger demographics:
HSBC created a new world in Minecraft – Fintropolis – designed to improve financial literacy.
Bank of America launched a 7-part series on YouTube that aims to share financial know-how with both parents and students.
Develop financial education partnerships with associations and advocacy groups.
OneMain Financial partnered with EverFi to launch the Money LaunchPad financial literacy program for students in grades 9 to 12.
BancorpSouth committed $1.5 million to Operation HOPE for financial literacy programs and announced six additional HOPE Inside locations.
Target specific consumer segments with financial education programs and thought leadership tailored to their unique needs, including:
LGBTQ: Capital One published an article, “The Debt Free Guys: Financial Obstacles Facing LGBTQ+ People”, and Ally published an article on “Financial Considerations for LGBTQ+ Couples.”
Couples: Ally Bank launched a marketing campaign targeting couples’ fears over the “Money Talk”, and Morgan Stanley listed “6 Money Questions to Ask Your Partner Before You Commit.”
Widows and Widowers: MassMutual published “A financial checklist for widows and widowers.”
Brand financial education programs to bring together various financial education initiatives as well as raise consumer awareness and engagement. Recent examples:
Regions introduced the Next Step podcast, the latest resources from the bank’s Next Step financial education program.
Capital One launched the Money & Life program, which builds on its former Money Coaching program.
Position financial education as part of broader ESG and CSR initiatives. Financial education efforts are now more prominently featured in financial firms’ annual ESG and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports.
Like other financial sectors, the investment and wealth management sector is dealing with changes in investor preferences and needs, as well as technological advances that impact how firms interact with both investors and their financial advisors. The following are 5 key marketing trends that we observed in 3Q21 as the industry seeks to respond to these changes.
Introducing new digital tools to both investors and financial advisors. As investors become more comfortable with managing their financial needs through digital channels and tools, investment firms are improving the client experience and using these digital tools to serve as a point of differentiation.
Advisor tools: John Hancock reported that it has engaged with more than 1,500 financial advisors on the ON24 Digital Engagement Platform, which enabled partners to grow new business by 266%; Bank of America Merrill Lynch launched the MAX (mobile advisor experience) app to get advisors back in the field
Using surveys to demonstrate that younger investors are committed to working with financial advisors, even as they embrace digital investment tools.
T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Savings and Spending Survey: 43% of retirees receive advice from a financial professional
New York Life’s Wealth Watch Survey: 61% of Millennials and 50% of Gen Zers (vs. 41% of all respondents) are interested in receiving help from a financial professional
Broadridge: 61% of Millennials (vs. 44% of all investors) are likely to begin working with a financial professional over the next two years
Looking to position themselves in the ESG investments space via thought leadership, commitments and other initiatives as a result of growing awareness of and interest in ESG.
Publishing ESG/sustainability reports to establish their own ESG credentials
Making financial commitments: New York Life announced a $50 million investment to support the preservation of affordable housing rental properties, and Northwestern Mutual announced a $100 million impact investing fund
Developing ESG-focused content, including articles and blog posts, as well as incorporating ESG into investor surveys: according to an Accenture survey, 80% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials asked their advisor about ESG investments vs. only 27% of Baby Boomers
Incorporating financial wellness elements into retirement solutions – an increasingly important theme in financial planning – as well as promoting financial education in thought leadership.
OneDigital and Ascensus launched the OneDigital Complete Retirement Solution, which includes Financial Elements, a financial wellness solution
As the U.S. economic recovery picked up speed in the third quarter of 2021, the decline in commercial line utilization that had taken place throughout the pandemic started to bottom out. Even though commercial loans continue to decline on a year-over-year (y/y) basis, banks are reporting very strong growth in their commercial loan pipelines. In the expectation that economic growth will continue to recover and this will translate to growth in commercial loans, banks are already starting to position themselves to capture their share of this growth.
With this in mind, the following is a list of five commercial banking initiatives that banks pursued in the third quarter of 2021:
Revisiting commercial banking capabilities. In a commercial banking environment characterized by changing customer priorities, the advent of innovative financial technologies and the emergence of new competitors, many banks are revisiting their commercial banking value proposition. This is seen in the articulation of new commercial banking strategies in recent company filings and investor presentations as well as in recent commercial banking videos from banks like Truist and Citi.
Publishing industry-specific thought leadership. By focusing resources on industries that have strong growth potential and/or that are under-served, banks can improve ROI. One of the best ways to build engagement within these sectors is by publishing industry-specific content (e.g., articles, blogs, newsletters, reports, podcasts and webinars). Many banks also look to turn this content into a prospect generation tool by listing relevant executives (often with email and direct phone numbers) in these publications.
Developing a series of branded content, which both increases awareness of this content and facilitates promotion across multiple platforms. Examples of branded content series include:
Providing value-added treasury management and commercial payment tools. With businesses increasingly comfortable with applying new technology solutions to enhance business efficiency and productivity, banks have launched a number of treasury management and commercial payment tools, including:
Increasing focus on ESG. In addition to annual ESG and CSR reports, many banks are publishing ESG-related content for their commercial clients. Examples in 3Q21 included Bank of the West’s Means & Matters Stories of Money and Sustainability and the BMO Harris Sustainability Leaders podcast. Citizens went even further by launching Green Deposits for its corporate clients.