Here’s a fun little video showing what a handful of European kids think of banking as a profession. Very cute, unless you are a banker. I suspect bankers aren’t that offended, but then I grew up in the advertising business where “ad man” was one rung above car salesman on the bottom of the trusted jobs ladder. Bankers probably say they are misunderstood.
If you read the news there is an awful lot of press about banks and their billion dollar fines. Not that kids read that type of stuff, but their parents do. Talk around the dinner table must trickle down. So if you are a bank, what to do? How do you slow the negative perceptions kids are faced with about banking? Well, you could give a 50 million dollars to a blighted city and hold a press conference. Or, rather, you could invest in programs to help kids understand the value of saving. Banks don’t focus on saving, they focus marketing efforts on borrowing.
What do you think would happen if one bank devoted half of its budget to messaging around saving? Would its borrowing numbers go down? I suspect not. I think some education about saving and financial proficiency would make consumers trust that bank more. And when you trust someone more, you’re more apt to borrow from them. And they more apt to lend you to.
Bankers can move the dial; they just need to flip some priorities. Peace.