One of the best side effects of the recession is the long, hard look consumers are taking at their financial habits. Nine credit cards and three mortgages might not have been such a boffo plan after all.
We also see the rebirth of a virtue of the past—saving. Even if they aren’t in a position to begin saving this minute, consumers busily promise themselves that the moment they have a spare nickel, it’ll go straight into the piggy bank.
That’s a golden opportunity for those of us in the piggy-bank business.
There was a time when banks encouraged saving, sponsoring school programs, and Christmas accounts and a hundred other ways to save. But most aren’t doing this anymore. There has never been a better time to bring back the creative and simple programs that once made saving a piece of cake.
Encourage your customers to make and keep a budget that includes savings NOT as something to do when there’s money left over but as an expense as regular and non-negotiable as the car insurance and groceries. Urge them to see if their employers offer an automatic deposit program that puts a percentage of each paycheck into savings.
Saving is a habit like any other. Make it easy for your customers to develop this habit, and they’ll never forget you for it. Soon enough, our culture might very well recover the long-lost value of thrift that our parents tried so hard to get through our collective heads. And banks with the foresight to do so can lead the way.