American Savings Bank Seizes an Opportunity in Hawaii’s Growing Digital Market

Case Study:*

A Golden Opportunity:
Crafting a Digital Experience for Millennials and Gen Z

Hawaii’s digital market segment, teeming with millennials and Gen Z, represented an untapped opportunity for American Savings Bank (ASB) of Hawaii. With these demographics anticipated to emerge as the wealthiest and largest in the coming decade, ASB realized the need to cater to their preferences. While local Hawaiian banks were yet to fully capitalize on this market, ASB saw a golden chance to fashion products and digital capabilities tailored to meet the unique needs of this segment.

EY's Inhouse Gen Z Research

My Roles, Deliverables, and Project Tools

  • My Roles
  • Lead UX Researcher
  • Lead UX Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Deliverables
  • Coherent analysis of surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and team stakeholder interviews
  • Competitive analysis
  • User personas
  • Future state journey maps
  • Low fidelity wireframes
  • Style guide updates/UX improvement recommendations
  • Project Tools
  • Figma
  • Mural
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Boxy SVG

The Project:
A Deep Dive into the Needs of Young Bank Customers

This six-week project aimed to create comprehensive guidelines to improve the user experience for 18-30-year-old clients of ASB in Hawaii. Our endeavors had to align with banking regulations and compliance, and the plan had to encompass both short-term and long-term improvements to the ASB app.

“… retail bank customers want guidance, but many aren’t receiving it. The tools banks have at their disposal aren’t always being used or, when they are, they are not used effectively. Neither banks nor their customers benefit from this dynamic. If banks don’t begin to make more progress in making advice content resonate, they could be facing significant attrition risk.”

J.D. Power — National Research

Laying the Groundwork: Preliminary Research

Before our team was brought in, ASB had already laid some groundwork. They had gathered high-level research from J.D. Power and the Gartner group on the top technology trends among Gen Z, which echoed EY’s in-house research on the opportunities presented by the latest wave of technology users. They also provided us with a rough sketch of client priorities, drawn from branding surveys and focus groups.

ASB Mural Screenshot
Mural Screenshot of American Savings Bank interview focus group notes (some details obfuscated for confidentiality)

Delving Deeper: Our Research

Armed with an aerial view of the challenge, we plunged deeper, conducting detailed interviews and participating in focus group discussions. Our research included four diverse focus groups, seven individual interviews, and stakeholder interviews with seven members of the ASB team. Additionally, we evaluated the ASB app against eight other FinTech competitors. Our aim was to develop a comprehensive understanding of what young people desired in an online banking app.

  • Capitol One Logo
  • TD Bank Logo
  • Marcus Logo
  • Charles Schwab Logo
  • SoFi Bank Logo
Competative Evaluation Highlights
Evaluating Against the Competition (some details obfuscated for confidentiality)

Research Unveiled: Creating a User-Centric Experience

Our data analysis revealed consistent patterns and themes, such as a strong motivation around rewards and preference for simplicity. We found a lack of loyalty towards financial institutions and that friction in transitions kept users from exploring alternatives. From these data, we identified two distinct personas – an Early Independence persona, and a Homeowner, with dependents persona. To complete our discovery process, we took a closer look at other banking apps in the market, providing us with additional insights.

ASB Early Independence Persona
ASB Persona 1 Journey Map
ASB Homeowner, has dependents Persona
Personas and Journey Maps (some details obfuscated for confidentiality)
ASB Journey Map Persona 2

Outcomes and Recommendations: Enhancing ASB’s Banking App

Our exhaustive analysis, including focus groups, interviews, and feedback evaluation, offered valuable insights to guide our design recommendations aimed at boosting engagement. Working closely with banking staff and stakeholders, we ensured that our recommendations were in sync with ASB’s aspirations and brand identity. Our suggestions, both short-term and long-term enhancements, were designed to keep the app relevant and user-friendly in the ever-evolving FinTech sector. By addressing the specific needs of this target audience, ASB can position themselves as a leader in the competitive banking app market and drive future growth.