Big Bank Earnings Show Digital’s App-Driven Appeal to Consumers

As earnings season rolls on, key themes from banks are emerging.

Consumers are continuing to engage with their banks via mobile means, and branches are being woven tightly into the fabric of the digital experience.

Filings and commentary from earnings calls last week showed that more users are engaging more often with their financial services providers online across basic (and more advanced) banking activities.

PYMNTS Intelligence data from last year found that younger consumers are driving the digital shift in banking. The study “Consumer Behaviors and Perceived Security Across Devices,” which surveyed nearly 2,600 U.S. consumers, found that nearly three-quarters of Generation Z respondents used their mobile banks to transact and satisfy their banking needs, followed by about two-thirds of millennials and more than 60% of Generation X cohorts.

Majority of Bank of America’s Clients Go Digital

Bank of America’s earnings showed that 75% of the firm’s banking households were actively using its digital offerings. The company also reported that it logged a record number of active digital banking users, up 5% year on year to 46 million. Digital logins came in at 3.3 billion, up 10%. And with a nod to the omnichannel efforts, the bank said clients booked 865,000 digital appointments.

During a conference call with analysts, CEO Brian Moynihan said there were 170 interactions with Erica, as 18 million users tapped into the online financial assistant’s capabilities, up from 16 million last year.

In J.P. Morgan’s report, the company said that active mobile customers were up 8% year on year to more than 53 million. As Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Barnum said on an earnings call, “even though all of the businesses in various ways are investing in technology and spending money on it, the drivers are actually pretty consistent across the entire firm even though it’s really bottoms-up driven.”

Double-Digit Growth in Digital Engagement

Wells Fargo reported that its retail bank branches at the end of the most recent period were about 4,310, down 40 branches from the most recent tally. As management noted on an earnings call, per commentary from CFO Mike Santomassimo, “we’ve been focusing on controlling expenses and lowering the cost to serve our customers, which includes driving digital adoption, simplifying our product portfolio and using technology to automate our operating environment. As our customers continue to shift to lower cost channels, resulting in fewer teller transactions and handled call volumes, we’ve reduced our total number of branches by over 280 or 6% from a year ago.”

The branches themselves are being outfitted to offer a range of activities (digital too) in the on-premise setting.

Management also noted on the call that it added 1.6 million mobile active customers year on year to just under 30 million individuals and increased mobile logins by 11% from a year ago.