New Citizens Bank app connects users to financial advisers

Financial Advisors

ALBANY — Citizens Bank has launched an app to connect users to financial advisers, targeting millennials and young professionals. 

Since the Rhode Island-based bank piloted the “Wellthi” app in April, it now has over 3,000 users, with 45 percent logging in at least twice a month. Last month, it added a function to set, track and share goals with friends and family. The bank is among others in the Albany area offering similar services: JPMorgan Chase’s app lets users schedule video meetings with financial advisers, while Bank of America offers a similar online service that can be accessed by phone.

“The overall goal is to teach younger individuals and to get people engaged at a younger age so they have a higher probability of financial success throughout their lives,” said Rick Decker, an Albany-based Citizens Bank financial adviser. 

After creating an account, a user will find a handful of groups, including some with hundreds of members. A “financial journey” group covers “building wealth and being financially smart,” while a “saving, investing and financial planning” group caters to those “interested in investing their money.” A “small business entrepreneurs” group provides a platform to “talk, exchange and receive financial tips.”

The app also provides a list of advisers who users can request to chat with via email or call. Requesting a phone appointment prompts an email with a financial adviser’s availability, along with a video chat option.

Citizens Bank targeted millennial women while testing the app in Philadelphia. Spokesman Frank Quaratiello said the bank initially focused on the group after its wealth advisers felt they had “fewer interactions” with them. Even so, the bank broadened the app’s audience after its officials said they found that its most frequent users were both men and women under 40.

The app’s launch comes after measures by the bank to improve financial literacy among Baby Boomer women. By 2030, U.S. women are expected to control a significant portion of the $30 trillion in financial assets owned by Baby Boomers, according to McKinsey & Company. A 2020 UBS Group AG report found that 46 percent of highly educated women and 41 percent of female breadwinners defer to spouses for long-term finances.

“They’re obviously younger than Baby Boomer women, but some of the trends that we were seeing are similar,” Quaratiello said of millennial women. “The goal is to have women who feel more comfortable making financial and investment decisions when they’re as old as Baby Boomer women.”

In recent years, the bank trained financial advisers to counsel women on advanced financial tools and transactions, and future planning.

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