Best Banks for Baby Boomers

Baby boomers want three features in a bank: customer service, retirement planning resources and convenience.

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Citizens Bank branch is pictured in Conway, New Hampshire
AlamyCitizens Bank ranks the No. 1 financial institution among baby boomers.
By Jennifer Calonia

Each stage of life brings with it a unique set of challenges to overcome and benchmarks to hit -- and this is especially true when it comes to banking. Although financial institutions target millennials heavily, baby boomers (Americans born between 1946 and 1964) are still the most represented generation among today's banking customers.

A December Gallup poll revealed that 89 percent of baby boomers have at least one checking, savings or money market account. With more than 75 million baby boomers in the United States, there's a greater demand for financial institutions that cater to the boomer lifestyle.

3 Things Baby Boomers Need Most From Banks

The youngest baby boomers have reached seniority in the labor force, while the oldest members of this generation have entered retirement. Both ends of the spectrum have vastly different circumstances when it comes to income, but no matter their age, boomers have three main banking needs.

1. Customer Service. Customer service comes in many forms, whether from an in-person associate at a brick-and-mortar branch or an attendant at a small kiosk in a local grocery store. Boomers have grown up with institutions that rely on real-life, person-to-person transactions that allow them to talk through terms and conditions and have questions addressed.

Physical bank branches are necessary in order to fulfill this service expectation. As more financial institutions have turned to online and mobile banking, some baby boomers who are slow to adapt to banking technology have been isolated as a result.

2. Retirement Planning. With the average life span in the U.S. expanding each year, and so many baby boomers on the road to retirement, the need for retirement planning resources becomes more and more pressing for many banking customers.

"In my experience, the most stressful situation that baby boomers encounter is the fear of running out of money during retirement," says Jonathan Duong, a certified financial planner and president of the wealth management firm Wealth Engineers.

"Although most baby boomers have several sources of retirement income, ranging from Social Security and pensions to their own retirement savings, many of them lack a true financial plan to help them understand how much they can spend in retirement," Duong says. "Not having a plan often leads to one of two negative outcomes: 1. The retiree lives a substandard retirement -- below what his or her income and savings can actually support -- due to the fear of running out of money. Or 2. The retiree overspends and then runs into the significant risk of outliving their savings."

In addition to staying on top of income during retirement, boomers need the assistance of a financial adviser to understand the kinds of expenses that could become more costly over time, like health care. This awareness can mean the difference between boomers being financially unprepared in the next stage of their life or living a comfortable lifestyle after leaving the workforce.

3. Convenience. While baby boomers are seen as traditionalists when compared to Generation Y (those in their 20s and early 30s), the two generations have something in common -- they both want convenience.

A 2013 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of boomers use online banking services at least weekly -- right in line with Generation X (70 percent) and Generation Y (72 percent).

Millennials might be quick to adopt new technology, like mobile banking, but there are more tech-savvy boomers surfing the Web for their banking needs than previously thought. Efficiency and convenience play a major role in baby boomer satisfaction, which makes banking services like online banking and electronic bill pay appealing.

10 Best Financial Institutions for Baby Boomers

Not all financial institutions are focused on the welfare of transitioning boomers, but there are a number of banks that still offer comprehensive services to this substantial population of customers.

Based on specialty retirement and financial planning services, products and resources, accessibility and customer service, GOBankingRates identified the 10 best banks for baby boomers in 2014:

1. Citizens Bank -- Providence, Rhode Island
2. Frost Bank -- San Antonio, Texas (CFR)
3. Arvest Bank -- Lowell, Arkansas
4. BB&T -- Winston-Salem, North Carolina (BBT)
5. TD Bank -- Cherry Hill, New Jersey (TD)
6. Bangor Savings Bank -- Bangor, Maine
7. Huntington Bank -- Columbus, Ohio (HBAN)
8. Wells Fargo -- San Francisco (WFC)
9. USAA -- San Antonio, Texas
10. American Savings Bank -- Honolulu, Hawaii

Jennifer Calonia writes for GoBankingRates.com, a source for online banking, the best CD rates, savings account rates, personal finance news and more.


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palmspringslife

Interesting that BofA sponsored this ad because that's the last place to put your money.
Also a "NO" is Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase.
BEST BET IS TO FIND A SMALL LOCAL BANK WHO EVEN THOUGH THEY WILL NOT HAVE HUNDREDS OF ATM'S IN YOUR CITY, THEY WILL KNOW YOUR NAME AND THEY WILL KNOW YOUR ACCOUNT AND YOU WILL RECEIVE FAR MORE PERSONAL HANDLING ON YOUR ACCOUNT. THE VERY BEST PLACE IS YOUR CREDIT UNION.

May 23 2014 at 3:30 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
SPQR

Most banks have always been crooks. They have a computer track your deposits then they give you 0% interest and then charge you for that. This works well for them! Baby boomers will all be broke before they die and the banks will have taken their share. I was at the bank yesterday actually 2 of them and both made mistakes and I pay for this.

May 23 2014 at 11:22 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

Forget the banks, put your cash in a credit union. Banks can't compete. And avoid anyone who calls themselves a financial planner. Their fees will eat you alive.

May 23 2014 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Tom Harrell

"CREDIT UNIONS" ! ! ! ! !

May 23 2014 at 10:49 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

The three things that Baby Boomers really want from a bank….
1. No fees.
2. No fees.
3. No fees.

May 23 2014 at 9:13 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply