financial services

Direct Banking Gains Popularity

Twenty percent of checking and savings direct mail in the first eight months of 2013 is from direct banks, compared to only 4% in 2012, reports Mintel Comperemedia.

Five banks -- Ally, Cap One 360, Discover, State Farm and USAA – were largely responsible for the growth, says Susan Wolfe, VP, content, Mintel Comperemedia.

“While direct banking isn’t mainstream just yet, it does seem to be gaining popularity with consumers,” she says.

The recent recession caused dramatic changes to the banking industry. While those changes created challenging situations for industry players, it created opportunities for others.

Because of rapid technological advancements and new industry players, Mintel Comperemedia is tracking "alternative banks" entering the market.

According to Mintel research, only 1% of Mintel respondents had an account at an Internet bank in both 2006 and 2010.  In 2012, that number jumped to 6%. Additionally, higher-incomes groups, including those earning $100K-149.9K, are more likely than other income groups to have an account with a direct bank (8%).



Consumers have typically been reluctant to go with a direct bank because they feel that they want the comfort of a physical branch nearby, Wolfe says.

“But as consumers rely more on online, mobile and ATM banking, and less on the branch, we could be at the start of a shift in consumer mindset and the convenience of a nearby physical location might not be the main reason that consumers choose their bank,” she adds.

Mintel Comperemedia research has also seen significant changes across marketing channels -- direct mail, email, online and print -- in recent quarters, partially due to activity from alternative banks.

Acquisition direct mail volume for new checking and savings accounts is on the rise in 2013, making the marketplace even more competitive than in the past, with mail volume for the first 8 months of this year 26% higher than in 2012.

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