Customers depositing $1,500 a month into their BankMobile accounts will automatically qualify for a VIP service, which includes refunding all ATM fees incurred, and access to a financial coach, the company announced today.
The move signals the bank’s need for deposits and depositors. BankMobile’s explicit target group is millennials, but they are a notoriously difficult group to attract. For one thing, they are not a monolithic group, but are unified merely by age and, perhaps, use of mobile devices.
That said, BankMobile seems to be doing everything right. Its mobile app has every feature offering by the neobanks such as Simple and Moven — and more besides. Because it is a brand of Customers Bank, a $6.5 billion bank, it can offer a personal loan product as well, making it a more complete account for millennials.
“The elements of the VIP experience came from our crowdsourcing,” Chief Strategy Officer Luvleen Sidhu told Bank Innovation. “What we heard was our customers don’t want fees, especially ATM fees, they want personalization and a personalized experience. And overall, the experience is in alignment with our core values — effortless, fee-free, financially empowering banking.”
The $1,500 requirement is fairly light — more common is to ask for direct deposit to the account, as GoBank requires to avoid its monthly fee.
BankMobile indicates in its FAQ that access to financial coaches — it seems each VIP member will be assigned to one — will not be restricted to start, though that might change as time goes on. VIP members will receive an email containing a link that allows them to schedule appointments with financial coaches.
The coaches were hired to be more about coaching than selling, Sidhu said. “We chose people who understood millennials and their pain points, and who were more listeners and providers of advice than sellers of products.”
Giving premium services to customers depositing just $1,500 in their accounts monthly is either a move of desperation or brilliance. Sidhu has made a study of millennials, and millennials, no matter what their income level, have come to expect attention and personalized service, and crave financial advice. The ATM refund is a more common perk offered by branchless players such as Ally, as well as a number of mainstream banks. Everbank, for example, offers ATM refunds to customers keeping their account balance above $5,000 — a steep task for most millennials.
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