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How Community Banks Can Acquire Gen Z Customers

Generation Z, also referred to as Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, represents one in four Americans today. They are the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation and are developing a reputation for being pragmatic, tech-savvy, and digital natives. With the eldest members of Gen Z in their mid-20s, they will represent a profitable segment of customers for community banks soon. Below are five tips to consider as you look to compete for these next-generation customers:

Understand the core characteristics of Gen Z

Gen Zs are digital natives with an affinity for socially aware brands. They shop online, are brand conscious, and are primarily TikTok users. This is the generation that lived their adulthood through the lens of COVID-19. This has led to Gen Z being labeled as the ‘most stressed-out generation,’ and this experience has shaped their perceptions of financial health. Learning how they think and act about money will soon be a cornerstone strategy for your community bank.

Meet them where they are with the financial knowledge they need

A recent study found that Gen Z adults are more financially sophisticated than any previous generation at their age. Experts suggest Gen Zs are more cautious about savings and investment and are interested in financial education. For example, the same study indicated that more than half of Gen Z adults are already investing in stocks, yet just one in four felt they understood the stock market. Studies have shown Gen Z learning about personal finance from TikTok, YouTube, and other social media outlets. As a result, your community bank must focus on creating financial education posts and videos targeting Gen Z and posting them on these social media channels, which will help elevate and showcase your financial expertise.

Create a seamless digital experience

Gen Z has never known a world without the Internet, so they view it differently than older generations. For Gen Z, the digital world has always been ubiquitous. They live in a world where digital experiences are all around them and move seamlessly through their digital world. Therefore, employing a brick-and-mortar approach to your digital strategy won’t work with this generation. Your mobile app should focus on their digital journey and deliver a superior user experience.

Structure your mobile payments strategy

Almost all Gen Zs use mobile payments to transact, so it’s likely that new offerings, from faster payments to cryptocurrency, may come into play as you look to woo this generation. Your bank can provide solutions that combine the safety and security they need with the efficiency they have come to expect.

Showcase local support and investments in the community

More than half of Gen Zs consider purchasing from those brands that have demonstrated their commitment to social causes.  Gen Z is twice as likely as any other generation to say that the purpose of business is to serve communities. So, when a brand takes a strong stance, Gen Z will come out strong on social media to praise them. Hence, your community bank can remain true to your community-based, service-first mission as you embody the perfect financial partner for this next generation of customers.


To attract this new generation of potential customers, community banks must understand what banking means to this generation and how to meet their financial needs. They are a diverse group of individuals and expect to see that diversity reflected at them in your marketing approach. You will be able to grow market share with this new group by providing financial advice, appealing to their digital nature, supporting social causes, and leveraging community ties.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the core characteristics of Gen Z
  • Meet them where they are with the financial knowledge they need
  • Create a seamless digital experience
  • Structure your mobile payments strategy
  • Showcase local support and investments in the community