Mark Schwanhausser says a bank could use its digital interaction with customers to encourage them to build a rainy day fund, and when that is done, think about investing. Chase Finn and Wells Fargo’s Greenhouse provide ways, virtual envelopes, to create savings goals such as a vacation or a house. For years now, Simple and Moven have provided similar tools, which understand how much a customer earns and their regular expenses such as rent and student loans, to show how much is safe to spend. It’s pretty basic, unobtrusive, helpful and not especially profitable.
But just maybe that’s all most people want from a bank. People are more likely to get divorced than to move their checking accounts; Bankrate says the average U.S. adult has used the same primary checking account for about 16 years.
They may be paying too much in monthly fees and missing higher interest elsewhere. Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, says people who do want to switch should ask for a switch kit from the bank where they want to open an account, to make it easier.
But many can’t be bothered to move just to save the average $14 a month, roughly the price of two trips to Starbucks. That may change as banks slowly begin raising the interest on deposit accounts. But for now, what comes through from Bankrate is that for many customers, their bank is hardly top of mind.
Maybe bankers just have to get used to it.