Alice Truong reporting for Fast Company:
The three-year study from Scratch, an in-house unit of Viacom that consults with brands, found that a third of millennials believed they'll be able to live a bank-free existence in the future. In the age of Simple, Square, and Bitcoin, these millennials, defined as those born between 1981 and 2000, overwhelmingly believed that the way they access money and pay for things will be completely different in five years.
This study isn't worth a grain of salt. millennials are far and way the most vulnerable generation at this point in time; banking and finances strike a chord with every millennial because they have all grown up in a recessionary period of slowed growth and decreased prosperity. This isn't a fair study right from the beginning.
First, in which country did Scratch poll these millennials? Did they poll Canadians? Canadians have one of the most sound banking systems in the world and, despite the popularity of complaining about banks, there isn't an incessant need to disrupt the Canadian system. For some odd reason, American banks have a dreadfully low rapport with their customers. The same can not be said for the entire world.
Second, the fact that 33% of millennials believe they won't need a bank at all in the future speaks volumes. Do these polled millennials not have any sense of history or any sense of how economies go round? Banking systems are fundamental to the existence of an economy. The foundational aspect of borrowing, lending and money creation is how inflation and deflation is held at bay. Without rigid structure and without a banking system, currency and cash deposit accounts will have extreme difficulty in maintaining their value.
Further, if Bitcoin is the future method to pushing banks to obsolescence, does it not seem ironic that Bitcoins are not safe from theft unless stored on a powered-down, offline hard drive in a bank's vaults? And what about Paypal's massive privacy and fraud scandals? I can't imagine the magnitude of a scandal whereby millennials have closed their accounts and transferred their entire cash deposits into systems like Paypal or Bitcoin.
Third, and most importantly, is the consideration of who currently runs our governments. Within five years, there will be little to no change of which age group run national governments.
Why do governments matter? Because governments guarantee currency. Bitcoin is trying to show that a government is not needed in a currency system. And if anything, Bitcoin's volatility is proving a government is entirely necessary.
Therefore, governments are essential to maintaining value in currency and countering the effects of inflation and deflation. They will bail out banks and protect banks more so than any other industry. Realistically, where the banks go, governments will follow — not the other way around.
At the end of the day, money drives our economies, not banks. Money has been around since time immemorial and won't leave without a fight. For millennials to expect complete banking disruption within five years only serves to prove their ignorance.
Thanks Scratch for showing that a large segment of my generation doesn't get what's going on.