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Canadians Slow to Automate Financial Services

People are increasingly open to purely automated banking and investment services. But Canadians also lag the world in robo-advice acceptance, finds a recent survey.

Accenture Financial Service’s 2017 consumer study reveals that 6 in 10 Canadians (59%) would use entirely computer-generated support for banking. The consulting firm attributes this to the growing need for “greater control over [our] service experience,” adding that “improved speed and convenience is the main reason consumers will turn to automated servicing.”

There are case studies of this throughout mortgage industries abroad; Quicken Loans is a perfect example down south. U.S. borrowers closed more than $6.5 billion worth of its “digital” Rocket Mortgage in 2016, despite Quicken not having rock bottom rates, nor emphasizing a “human touch.”

But if you believe the survey, most Canadians have no intention of ditching their mortgage advisors. A majority (61%) said it was important that specialists be available to offer mortgage advice in bank branches. Compared to the U.S. and U.K., however, Canada doesn’t have many digital mortgage options for folks to compare.

Any way you slice it, we’re behind the times with fintech adoption. As just one example, 14% of Canadian Gen Y respondents said they would consider banking, buying insurance or purchasing investment advice with an online provider like Amazon or Google. That was a whopping 26 points below the global average of 40%.

Sidebar: Accenture’s research segments financial services consumers into three groups:

  1. Nomads (23% of Canadian consumers): Described as “a highly digitally active group,” they are ready for and open to new models of delivery for financial services. Nomads are independent and not tied to a traditional provider (e.g., bank).
  2. Hunters (23%): Bargain hunting is their game. This group searches relentlessly for the best deal on pricing. Yet they still actively rely on human advisors.
  3. Quality Seekers (55%): This group considers quality first, especially when it comes to service, advice and data protection. 

More than 32,715 respondents took part in this survey from 18 different markets internationally.