Wells Fargo Joins the Digital Bank Bandwagon

Wells Fargo announced the launch of Greenhouse, a digital-only bank app, joining Chase and Citibank who have launched or announced their own digital bank offerings. Quoting Wells' Peggy Mangot, who heads Greenhouse, SNL reports that the app's target audience are "new to banking" consumers, which include younger consumers and students or others who are learning about personal finance and budgeting. In an interview with Wells' Peggy Mangot, who heads the bank's Greenhouse efforts, SNL wrote:

"Greenhouse does not have a savings account feature. Instead, it provides two spending accounts that work together: one for recurring bills and one tied to the customer's day-to-day spending. The goal is to start with the basics of personal finance and ultimately help these newer consumers change their spending habits and build up savings. The bank plans to watch how successful the app's features are with its users, then port the best features over to the main Wells Fargo app."

I've asked Peggy if she's interested in a friendly wager: I say that Wells will get as many Gen Xers and Boomers to sign up for Greenhouse as it does from the Millennial population. I've got some consumer research behind my bet: 

Interest in digital-only banks isn’t driven by age--it's driven by people's confidence in their ability to manage their own financial lives.

Wells' rationale is misguided. Few consumers who would consider a digital-only bank care about PFM-related tools, and the difference in interest in these tools is not that much greater than it is among other consumers:

Ron Shevlin
Director of Research
Cornerstone Advisors