Would Your Customers Switch to the Bank of Amazon?

It’s safe to say most of the financial services world is curious to know if and when a “Bank of Amazon” will become a reality. The question banks are perhaps most anxious about is how will this impact their customer base? Should they be worried about customer attrition?

The answer, according to Scott Anderson, brand evangelist at Diebold-Nixdorf, is yes, especially for the megabanks.

“If Amazon were to become [a bank] today, they would be one of the top three banks right now,” Anderson said at the BAI Beacon conference in Orlando this week.

The bank could have as many as 70 million customers over the next five years if it launched today, he said. And most of these customers would come from the larger banks.

To put that in context, purely based on digital (online and mobile) customers, JPMorgan Chase currently has 47.9 million customers, Bank of America has 35.7 million, and Wells Fargo has about 22 million.

“Our research shows that customers at the megabanks are more likely to go to a Bank of Amazon than customers from smaller community banks,” Anderson said.

This has something to do with the demography (age and digital awareness) of the customers, of course, but also because customers of the larger banks tend to be less loyal to their bank’s brand and more about what’s most convenient, easy to use and secure.

“And most people feel that Amazon could deliver on those items,” he said.

Anderson cited a report, which surveyed over 2,000 people with smartphones, that showed that 35% of those that were customers of major banks said they would open a primary checking account with Amazon, and over 30% would consider it.

In contrast, only 20% of customers of larger regional banks and 10% of those using smaller banks said they would open an account with Amazon.

“Also, we found that 74% of people between ages 18 and 34 said that if Amazon started offering a credit card tomorrow, they would get it,” he said.

But it’s not just Amazon that banks need to keep an eye on, it’s also the other nonbank fintechs.

These nonbank fintechs range from larger players like PayPal to mobile-first challenger banks like N26 and Monzo and alternative lenders like Lending Club, Kabbage etc.

Nonbank lenders, specifically, is what banks need to fear, according to Anderson. Nonbank P2P lenders originated $85 billion in loans last year, he said, and that number is expected to increase threefold over the next three years.

Bank Innovation recently reported that fintechs represented 32% of personal loan balances compared to 29% by banks and 24% by credit unions, in the first half of this year alone. When it comes to small businesses, BI previously reported that 27% of small businesses used an online alternative lender in 2017, and that number will only increase as the gig economy continues to expand.

A recent S&P Global Market Intelligence report showed that personal, small and medium enterprise and student-focused segments will originate $62.84 billion in new loans in 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16.5% during the five-year period ending December 31, 2021.

The secret sauce, in Anderson’s words, is “personalization, and personalization.”

Obviously, the way fintechs achieve personalization is through digitalization. So the moral of the story, which may come as no surprise, is agile platforms, APIs and a comprehensive digitalized experience for the customer from the user interface to customer service.

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