As the New Year comes around, all well-intentioned Austrians set their resolutions – including in terms of finance. The basic essence involves wanting to handle money matters in a more disciplined way in future. With regards to bank services, they particularly want to make more use of online banking and self-service areas, but also visit branches in person for consultation. When it comes to investments, Austrians continue to place great emphasis on security for 2017, wanting to give priority to passbooks, savings cards, gold and property. Shares remain on the backburner.
A representative survey conducted by Integral on behalf of Erste Bank und Sparkassen has found that almost every Austrian (97%) has set financial resolutions for the New Year. According to the survey, 80% want to adjust taxes and 67% want to save more money. One in two wants to spend less in general and stop overdrawing their account, while 4 in 10 Austrians want to view their account balance/statements more often and have a better overview of income and expenses. Only a quarter want to review their investment strategy and think about private pension plans, and one in five want to focus more intensively on financial markets and products. 16% want to donate more money, while 9% want to take out a loan next year.
Saving and investment in 2017: Security before risk
“Austrians place great emphasis on security when it comes to investment and we banks have helped shape this culture. The way to solve the puzzle today is diversification in order to reduce the risk associated with any investments. Depending on individual risk tendencies, money should be split over various products such as shares, currencies or loans. Customer advisors will help ensure the right decision is made”, stresses Thomas Schaufler, Director of Private Customer Business at Erste Bank. 19% of those surveyed said they wanted to use passbooks/savings cards more often or make more investments in gold or other precious metals in the New Year, while 15% want to increasingly store their saved money at home or in a safe/vault, and 13% want to invest more in property. Only one in eight Austrians intends to focus more on securities in the coming year.
Online banking on the rise
Among the services offered by the bank, there is a clear trend towards customer independence. In the New Year, 80% want to increase their usage of online banking, and 63% said the same for the self-service areas. But Austrians also intend to visit branches more often in 2017 (46%), and consult their bank advisors (39%). “The results show that we’re on the right track with our strategy. On the one hand, we have undisputedly Austria’s most modern online banking system in the form of George. Customers looking for transparent, customisable investment options can also enjoy You Invest, a solution actively managed based on risk categories. On the other hand, we have our branches with strong teams of advisors who can assist with each individual request”, Schaufler adds.
One in three Austrians wants to increase their use of bank apps in the New Year. Digital payment options (such as NFC, Apple Pay, Google Wallet), meanwhile, are only being used more intensively by one in five. One in eight Austrians will keep using the bank’s telephone services in 2017.
About the survey:
Erste Bank hired market research institute INTEGRAL to conduct an online survey. From 6 to 15 December 2016, 501 people were asked about their 2017 resolutions in terms of finance in general, or about their top priority, future use of bank services, and the use of savings and investment options for the coming year. The results are representative of the Austrian population aged 18 and over.