Guest blog by Sara Parker, Chief Product Officer at Mutual Vision
Digital, community and purpose – what the pandemic has taught us and why it’s not just relevant to young people.
I wrote in the forward to this year’s BSA Building Societies Guide that it is well-known that societies need to appeal to a younger demographic and that digitisation is critical to achieving this. I also noted that we have Gen C - the Covid Generation, and that transcends the age demographic, with many more people engaging with digital services, due to the pandemic, thereby becoming both comfortable with and expecting digital in the everyday, including financial services.
I read with interest the excellent article by Alpa Shah in the Autumn edition of Society Matters “Purpose: A roadmap for engaging the under 35s”, based on research into what matters to this demographic and how to attract them. It was no surprise that the under 35s expect digital by design.
What might surprise people is the strength of digital engagement by older people. A recent Civica study, “A Word from the Wise”, found that 74% of older people are comfortable using a laptop, a higher percentage than for young people and a similar number own a smartphone. 81% of over 70s felt that the financial sector makes the best use of tech, more than any other age group.
Many of us crave more face-to-face time with our family and friends and we recognise the importance of these connections and the value that comes from them - having spent the last 18 months “on zoom”! This time has also encouraged, perhaps forced, more organisations and individuals to adopt digital and the research above shows that there is demand across the age groups for good digital financial services.
There is a common thread across Gen C and the younger generation, with both showing a strong desire to engage with social and purpose-driven businesses. This trait has long been present amongst the younger generation, but the same desire has now spread amongst Gen C - an example being a desire to 'shop local' and support your local community, and what could be more local than a Building Society serving its community?
As Ms Shah writes, Building Societies are well placed to take advantage of this shift in attitudes. Expressing mutuality as community, helps to simplify the message for all those who are not close to the sector. Combining the community message with digital services will put societies in a strong position to attract not just the under 35s, but more broadly Gen C.
Mutual Vision is helping its customers (the MV Community) to meet this demand for digital. For example, supporting our customers to enable digital onboarding of new members – with a clicks-to-complete-application competing with high street and neo banks, or via the MV partner network, regularly adding new partners to support digitisation of mortgage processes. Our cloud-based integrations hub provides interconnectivity between our own products, but more importantly connects third-party products into our partner network and creates exciting opportunities for our customers to benefit from the best technology partners.
 A Word from the Wise www.civica.com/awftw