A bank trustee works with clients from the WWII to millennial generations. They generally each have a unique set of characteristics. Of course, no generation is the same.

There are variances based on geographic, social, and economic factors. What makes millennials a somewhat unique group, at least since the WWII generation, are their lives experienced two special situations.

First the integration of technology in everything we do.  Second the break-up and re-structuring of the geopolitical world order after the Cold War. Millennials and successor generations, like Gen Z, view the world through different experiences and tools than prior generations. 

My aha moment came from reading the Urban Institute report on Millennial Homeownership (see page 22). A bank trustee that understands millennials will provide them and future generations with innovative and collaborative customer services.

Millennials are used to instant access to information and sharing of experiences. The sharing of experiences, from personal to professional, stems from technology. Forty years ago, people walked down the street to say hello or picked up the one phone in the house to call someone to share an experience. Thankfully technology has changed the ability to communicate faster and more efficiently. 


Technology has also allowed all of us to gather information automatically, anonymously, and efficiently. Bank trustees, not known for cutting-edge thought, still view this more modern style of communication as challenging to their way of thinking and value services. Bank trustees realize that providing an easy method for prospects to gather information quickly, automatically, and anonymously makes them the logical and practical choice for millennials.

Gathering of information on bank trustee services is not a natural ‘thing.’ Firstly, the need for bank trustee services occurs periodically compared to the regular needs of finding services on health insurance, auto insurance, investment planning advice, etc.

When someone really needs a bank trustee they need the service – now. Since millennials are very practical, they use various methods to gather information. Bank trustees must understand millennials will reach out to their peer group first, and then do searches on the internet. Since they are aghast to paying for information, they will require multiple data points to confirm any information. This is a fact that a bank trustee must incorporate into their marketing and trustee services.

There are many methods to make this communication practical. Whether it is instant messaging, Slack, Drift, ZenDesk, Facebook Messenger, etc., the traditional bank trustee who has not considered these respectful forms of communications and research are at a disadvantage.

Millennials view it as a more natural and efficient way of using time. Millennials are very conscious of their time. They are very practical from their viewpoint of the world of today and tomorrow. 

chat-millennial-customersWe use Drift on our website to allow anyone to ask quick questions to deal with normal questions. Currently, we are working to add a bot to our Drift service to speed up the answers to save time from our employees answering the more mundane questions.

A bank trustee that loads their employee expenses on repetitive and manual actions will be frustrated with how millennials are not willing to pay their trustee fees. All of those manual and repetitive actions cost money that millennials are not willing to pay for. 

Any bank trustee needs to consider their delivery of services and most importantly how prospective clients gather and analyze the marketing information. Any action that is manual, repetitive, and doesn't require creative thought or analysis should be partially or completely automated. Bank trustees of the future will spend their precious time talking with millennials on creative thought discussions to solve problems.

The bottom line is that millennials are practical with their time and money. If a bank trustee or any service provider does not align their back and front office employee expense structure with the future client base which is practical, they (the service provider) will have a problem.

In real estate sales — an unrelated industry — millennials understand paying a real estate agent 6% to sell their home has no value add. If the real estate agent laments of the workload involved to find the right house and all the details involved in closing a home sale, whose problem is that?

Not the millennial client, but the real estate agent.

There are many examples of companies disrupting the real estate agency. The same is coming from within the bank trustee industry.

This bank trustee understands millennials are practical with their time and money. They do not suffer fools with patience. Every generation defines the term, practical, differently.

Do you understand the differences between generations? It's more important than you may think. 

In fact, it's key to understanding why millennials may be your toughest clients — but they're also the best.