Mercator Blog

More Than Half of U.S. Consumers Would Like Their Financial Institution to Help Them Budget to Better Manage Their Finances
Date: April 25, 2017
Karen Augustine
Manager, Primary Data Services
Managing one’s personal finances can be daunting no matter one’s income level, particularly with volatility in the stock market. That may explain why more U.S. consumers are taking advantage of financial tools to aid their personal financial planning, as the 2016 Banking and Channels survey in Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series (CMSS) found. Financial institutions (FIs) can forge deeper customer relationships if they take advantage of banking customers’ need for financial advice and budgeting. Today, a host of tools is available to analyze personal spending habits, assist in financial management, and support household budgeting, yet precious few teach individuals how to reach their financial goals. Financial institutions are beginning to offer personal financial management (PFM) tools to support these efforts. But many consumers need more personalized help and support for automated savings and investment opportunities.

The 2016 CMSS Banking and Channels survey on personal finance focuses on U.S. consumers’ use of financial advisors and their need for financial advice from their primary financial institutions, particularly among the segments of the customer base of high value to financial institutions—young adults, business owners, and those who have wealth management relationships with FIs. This study identifies the demographics of the U.S. consumers most interested in financial advice from their respective financial institutions—namely young adults, high-income earners, business owners, and consumers who consider themselves to have wealth management accounts or relationships with their primary FI. This report, Consumers and Personal Finance: Don’t Overlook the Basics, also discusses the ways in which consumers use personal financial management, or PFM, tools, adhere to a budget, and set aside savings to meet their financial goals. In this analysis, we also evaluate how U.S. consumers communicate with their FIs, the types of banking activities they perform online and by mobile, as well as their use of online account opening and interest in personalization. The findings highlight ways in which FIs can enhance the customer experience with services to meet customers’ expectations and support their financial goals.