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Do millennials use bank branches? Yes, Wells Fargo CEO says

Mobile banking is Wells Fargo’s fastest-growing channel, but 75 percent of the lender’s customers go into one of its branches once every six months, CEO John Stumpf said Tuesday.
Mobile banking is Wells Fargo’s fastest-growing channel, but 75 percent of the lender’s customers go into one of its branches once every six months, CEO John Stumpf said Tuesday. Bloomberg

As the generation known for its heavy use of smartphones, it might seem unlikely that millennials would use bank branches.

But Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf says millennials – roughly defined as someone born in the 1980s or 1990s – are among the customers who still make the trip to the San Francisco-based lender’s branches.

Stumpf shared the observation Tuesday during the bank’s conference call with investors to discuss its first quarter earnings.

Mobile banking is Wells Fargo’s fastest-growing channel. But its branches remain busy, Stumpf said. He said 75 percent of Wells Fargo’s customers go into one of its branches once every six months.

“Customers tell us branches are important,” he said. “We hear that every day.”

Even as it continues to see a need for branches, Wells Fargo, like some other lenders, has trimmed its branch network in recent years as customers increasingly bank on smartphones and other devices. That change in consumer behavior has led Wells Fargo to experiment with smaller branches.

“If you think about the 12,000 consumer interactions we have a minute in this company, 80 percent or so are what I would call digitally supported,” Stumpf said. “ ... So it doesn't mean we have to build 5,000- or 6,000-square-foot stores.”

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