Young people predict revival of High Street banks

Young people are predicting a revival of High Street banks in the coming years despite the arrival of the cashless economy and digital banking, according to a new study.

A YouGov survey of 2,036 young people for software and technology firm ThoughtWorks found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) predicted that banks will be primarily responsible for looking after their personal data after the arrival of the cashless economy, while 23 per cent thought physical branches will support financial education and act as community hubs.

Respondents also said that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a major role in helping consumers to order things as and when they are needed - with some (16 per cent) believing that drones and robots would have a role to play in the bank of the future.

The vast majority (79 per cent) of respondents predicted that their relationship with banks would be fundamentally different in ten years’ time, with 35 per cent of students saying they would no longer be receiving financial statements by 2030 as digital banking reaches widespread adoption.

Instead, they said that by 2030 consumers would access all their financial information from a single online hub (35 per cent) – and that they will have just one password and ID for all their online purchases and payments (19 per cent).

However, whilst predictions of a cashless society would seem to point towards the demise of High Street banks, just 18 per cent of young people agreed with the statement that bank branches will leave the High Street by 2030, compared to nearly half (47 per cent) of people over the age of 45 predicting the end of physical branches within ten years.

The study found that young people are far more likely to say that banks have an important future on the high street but they will play a different role. Overall, 23 per cent of students said bank branches will transition to become community hubs for financial education, data safety and will also have a social role to play as a place for community groups to meet.

Commenting on the findings, Phil Hingley, director of financial services at ThoughtWorks UK, said: “Young Brits like the allure and convenience of using products and services from cool tech brands but they also recognise there is a place for solid, safe brands - like banks - that can be the junction that stores their data they use, validates their ID and the enables the payments they make to a wide range of online brands and retailers.

He added: “In the new cashless age of Britain in 2030, there will be a greater need for data security and safety. The values that underpin the bank of the future could look remarkably similar to the bank of the past – the difference is that data will replace physical currency as the commodity they are trusted with and move around.”

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