BAI, a nonprofit independent organization that delivers the financial services industry’s most actionable insights, recently announced the key findings of the 2018 BAI Banking Outlook research study that uncovers data on trends in marketing and customer acquisition.

BAI shared the highlights of its most recent BAI Banking Outlook, a quarterly research study consisting of a combined total of over 650 consumers and financial services leaders from organizations ranging in size from community banks to large mega banks. BAI researchers surveyed consumers to understand what marketing efforts and product offerings compel them to choose a bank. The research also measures behavior, attitude and outlook in relation to how these consumers view their bank, prefer to interact with the bank and view their current and future banking relationships. The results offer a compare-and-contrast view between the consumer and bank.

Highlights from the BAI Banking Outlook include:

More than half of respondents searched for a new bank or new account in the past 12 months, and more than 28 percent indicated opening an account at an online bank. However, 49 percent of respondents opened a new account at their main bank. Only 40 percent of respondents stated that they will not change main banks over the next year, while nearly a quarter are considering switching and over one third are unsure; While consumers increasingly prefer digital interaction, 37 percent of respondents visited a branch to discuss their specific needs and more than half (56 percent) opened a checking account in the branch; Convenient branch locations (35 percent), cash incentives or rewards (32 percent) and product offerings or attractive rates (30 percent) are the top reasons why a consumer would change banks; 60 percent of consumers stated that they would open a loan or investment account and 66 percent of consumers would open a deposit account online or through a mobile device. But, the majority of bank respondents (52 percent) do not allow a customer’s first account to be opened digitally.

“Marketing and customer acquisition are priorities for most financial services organizations, which is why BAI placed heightened importance on understanding the perspectives from consumers who have opened a new account in the past year,” said Karl Dahlgren, managing director of BAI. “This type of data is crucial for financial services leaders to understand as they seek to acquire new customers in this highly competitive industry. For example, our survey found that while a growing percent of account openings occur without visiting a branch, face-to-face selling and interaction continues to prove effective and is even more so when combined with digital marketing experiences. Through analyzing data such as this, the BAI Banking Outlook helps financial services leaders recognize potential areas to improve strategy and exceed customer expectations.”

For more information about the BAI Banking Outlook survey results, or to watch the free webinar, visit