Millennials: Forward-Looking Lessons

Noah Wilcox, a fourth generation community banker from Minnesota, shares his take on the newest, largest customer base: the Millennial generation. Wilcox is the president and CEO at Grand Rapids State Bank and CEO at Minnesota Lakes Bank. You can reach him on Twitter at @NWWilcox.

Forget to pay the cable bill? TV’s overrated. Disregard the forecast before traveling to Minnesota? Unfortunate, but manageable. Put off tomorrow what you could be doing to build your Millennial customer base today? Do so at your own peril.

This digital-savvy, 80 million-strong group of individuals (born between 1977 and 1995) wield a reported $200 billion in annual buying power and are poised to generate the greatest lifetime value of any banking customer (thanks to their numbers and education levels). But will they choose to bank with you? Maybe, according to Visa Market Research and Insights. Seventy-seven percent of surveyed individuals aged 18 to 34 said they are willing to bank at a non-financial services company compared to just 28 percent of individuals aged 56 or older.

At Grand Rapids State Bank we’re hoping to earn their business by tapping into how they want to bank with us so we can help fund their significant lifestyle milestones along the way—first car, first home, first small-business loan.

Take social media, for instance. It’s not just something Millennials ding around with on their phone. It’s a bona fide delivery channel that we’ve leveraged to promote local events, field customer inquiries, and of course, reinforce our brand. These channels need to be cultivated and monitored, for the benefit of this new up-and-coming crop of customers as well as our existing customer base.

This is the generation that witnessed the harsh lessons of their parents about overextending and that now leans toward debit over credit. This is the generation that gave birth to smartphones and tablets, which is why we’re working on deposit accounts that can be opened and funded online. And it’s the generation that, when polled by ICBA about whether they’d rather meet the president of the United States or the president of a local bank, opted for the latter.

Perhaps all of this is a testament to Millennials’ innate desire to start their own businesses. After all, Millennials are by far the most entrepreneurial generation, according to ICBA’s Millennial study, in which 41 percent reported they were “very interested” in starting up their own business and nearly a quarter earned at least part of their income from a business they own or have a stake in.

Or perhaps they’re like 26-year-old Jewel Burks, co-founder of Partpic and featured in Forbes’ 2016 “30 under 30” listing, who said, “The big thing that I want in starting a company is to make a difference in my community.”

Well, if there’s anyone who can reach out and help her and other Millennials do that, it’s a local community banker. After all, she’s already met President Obama.

As for the Millennials I serve, this much I’ve learned: no good deed goes unnoticed. A note greeted me this morning from a customer commending our support for the arts in Grand Rapids, Minn. He was surprised a business would understand the impact of art on the community. I was moved that he would take the time to acknowledge our efforts. So for those wondering if the community bank model resonates with Millennials, I’d say you have your answer.

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Go Local for the Holidays

It’s that time of year again where jingle bells are ringing, holiday decorations are lining the streets and children are making their lists and checking them twice. That’s right – it’s time to Go Local for the Holidays!

ICBA is encouraging consumers to Go Local for the Holidays this year by shopping, dining and banking locally. When you patron small businesses, you are putting $68 of every $100 back to work in your local economy. With an estimated 28 million small businesses in the US, there is bound to be a variety of locally owned and operated business close by in your area.

Plan to share a little holiday cheer by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs this season. Since more than 90 percent of consumers believe it is important to support the locally owned and operated small businesses they value in their community, you won’t be the only one making spirits bright on Main Street this year.

Want to find out more about ICBA’s Go Local initiative and how community banks support local small business throughout the year? Visit www.icba.org/golocal.

Community Bank Spotlight: First Green Bank

First_Green_BankIn recognition of Earth Day, ICBA is spotlighting First Green Bank in Mount Dora, Fla. The community bank was founded in 2009 with a mission to do the right thing for the environment as well as its customers, communities and shareholders.

According to First Green Bank, it offers discounted interest rates for LEED-certified commercial and residential projects, and its First Green Foundation nonprofit provides assistance for installing solar panels. The community bank’s buildings are built or converted for energy efficiency, it offers charging stations at most branches for electric and hybrid vehicles, and approximately 90 percent of customers receive paperless statements.

This week, First Green Bank is celebrating Earth Day with a Facebook trivia contest and giveaway.

Chairman and CEO Ken LaRoe discussed the ICBA member’s mission and performance in a Forbes.com interview earlier this year.

Voting for the 2014 Main Street Holidays Contest

The top five photos for the 2014 Main Street Holidays contest have been announced! Visit ICBA’s Facebook page to see the top five and don’t forget to vote for your favorite. The photo with the most likes will win $300 for a local charity.

Photos can be shared and commented on, however, that does not go toward the final vote.

Voting officially closes at 9 a.m. (eastern) on Friday, December 19 and the winner will be announced Friday afternoon. Hurry and vote!

Go Local for the Holidays

It’s that time of year again! With holiday cheer and spending just around the corner, ICBA and the nation’s community banks are encouraging consumers to Go Local this holiday season with their purchasing, dining and spending.

2014 Facebook Christmas.

To show support for entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the holiday season, ICBA will kick off Go Local Wednesday on December 17. Throughout the day, the association’s employees, who are based in offices across the country, will visit various locally owned and operated businesses and restaurants, supporting small business owners and locally based entrepreneurs.

Plan to join us? Let us know how you plan on supporting your locally owned and operated small businesses this holiday season. Share stories and photos!

For additional information, visit www.icba.org/golocal and follow #GoLocalHolidays on Twitter.

Bank @ $chool with Citizens National Bank

For the past six years Citizens National Bank of Bossier City, LA has implemented “Bank @ $chool” programs at several elementary schools in their community.

bookkeeper

Josie completes the passbook by entering the interest earned and updating the balance which she tells that amount to Ella Kate who is excited to watch her savings grow!

The Bank @ $chool program is based on the Louisiana Banker’s Education Council’s Bank @ $chool program. Citizens’ program has two complimenting components:

  1. First, the Bank provides financial literacy curricula to each school’s fourth grade teachers. The curricula is real world based and developed at an age and grade appropriate level.
  2. Second, once a month during the school year Citizens staff members visit the school for “Bank Day.” Bank Days give opportunities for students to serve each other as tellers, bookkeepers, security guards and branch managers; as the entire grade level brings their saving deposits. Tellers accept the deposits, while bookkeepers balance the account and calculate the interest earned.

At the end of the school year, students can convert their school account to a real Citizens savings account or get a check back for what the accumulate during the year.

staff-banner

Kennedy, Davis, Logan and Molly are prepared for our First Bank of Legacy deposit day. They were chosen to be security guards and Branch Managers through an application and interview process just as you would have done in the real job world.

Since beginning the program, Citizens has worked with more than 2,000 Bossier Parish students.  The believe – and hope – is that these students are developing a solid foundation in financial literacy.

korbin -molly deposit

After Molly’s deposit slip is complete, she proceeds to the teller, Korbin, who verifies the money and gives her a receipt.

“Our Bank @ $chool programs have had immeasurable benefits, not just for the students we serve, but our staff team as well,” said Jason Smith, executive vice president at Citizens National Bank and former president of the Louisiana Bankers Education Council. “The staff members that participate bring back stories of lessons learned and taught. It boost morale and gives the team an added sense of the value community bankers bring to the areas they serve”

molly-logan smile deposit

Molly and Logan fill out deposit slips before making their deposit with the tellers.

Throughout the month of August, we’ll be posting regular posts highlighting financial literacy information, including community banks who are active in their local communities’ financial literacy programs.

Have a story to share? Reach out to either Audrey Wright-Cipriano at audrey.cipriano@icba.org or Jessica Wallace at jessica.wallace@icba.org.