SOURCE: BancVue

April 20, 2015 06:00 ET

Study: Economic Recovery Fails to Ease Consumer Financial Concerns

More Than a Quarter of Americans Do Not Feel in Control of Their Finances

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Apr 20, 2015) - Six years after the official end of the Great Recession, more than a quarter of Americans (27 percent) say they do not feel in control of their finances, according to a new study.

The 2015 Consumer Banking Insights Study -- commissioned by BancVue on behalf of nearly 300 community financial institutions (CFIs) offering its Kasasa® brand of checking accounts -- found that Americans' financial control is lower this year than it was in 2013. The study was conducted online by Harris Poll in January 2015 among more than 1,000 U.S. adults (ages 18 and up).

Older Americans in particular seem to be moving in the wrong direction when it comes to financial control. The 2015 survey found that 67 percent of adults ages 55 and up agree that they're in control of their finances, down 16 percentage points compared to 2013. Sense of control has also decreased in varying degrees among men (down from 84 percent to 72 percent), women (down from 80 percent to 73 percent), and Millennials (down from 83 percent to 79 percent).

"We've seen positive changes to the overall economy in recent years, but Americans -- across the board -- are still struggling to get their personal finances under control," said Gabe Krajicek, CEO behind Kasasa. "At least part of this is likely due to the state of financial literacy right now. There are basic banking steps -- checking for fees, choosing the right institution -- that could help on this front, but many consumers still haven't taken them."

According to the study, 92 percent of consumers* claim to be aware of the fee structure at their bank, but only half of consumers (51 percent) have checked their checking account for fees within the past month. Furthermore, 10 percent of consumers haven't checked their account for fees in the past year, and 1 in 5 consumers (20 percent) have never checked their account for fees.

Additionally, community bank and credit union customers* (70 percent) are more likely to see their bank as a partner in managing their finances when compared to megabank customers* (57 percent). However, only 23 percent of consumers who are not currently banking at a community bank or credit union say they are at least somewhat likely to switch in 2015.

"Small steps can make a big difference," Krajicek said. "Simply keeping an eye on banking fees -- and eliminating them, if possible -- and finding a financial institution that offers the right support and financial management solutions could go a long way in helping consumers regain their financial confidence."

About the 2015 Consumer Banking Insights Study
Nearly 300 community financial institutions offering BancVue's Kasasa brand of checking accounts teamed up to commission the 2015 Consumer Banking Insights Study. The study was conducted online by Harris Poll from January 5-9, 2015. The study polled 1,002 U.S. adults ages 18 and up to gauge their banking and checking preferences, feelings and behaviors.

Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

*Throughout this report "megabank customers" are checking account holders who consider one of the big national banks to be their primary banking institution and "community bank and credit union customers" are those who consider a local community bank or a credit union to be their primary banking institution. "Consumers" are defined as U.S. adults ages 18 and up who have a checking account at a financial institution.

About Kasasa
Kasasa is a national brand of free rewards checking accounts offered exclusively at community financial institutions. Kasasa accounts are always free, have no minimum balance, and offer nationwide ATM fee refunds. Kasasa accounts also reward consumers with incentives including earning high interest, cash back, automatic savings, or digital downloads from iTunes® and Amazon®. Kasasa is currently offered at nearly 300 community banks and credit unions and 1,200 branches, making it the 9th largest branch network in the nation. Kasasa marries innovative products with the personal touch of local banking. For more information, visit www.Kasasa.com.

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