A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: It's child's play - how to choose a bank

Maybe a free piggybank is enough... Photo / Thinkstock
Maybe a free piggybank is enough... Photo / Thinkstock

You know what.

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking, this is the most irritating bank ad in current TV rotation.

But despite its skin-crawly creepiness, the ad probably does its brand-awareness job for whatever the name of the bank is.

Banks spend a lot of money - over $100 million last year in New Zealand, according to some reports - trying to differentiate their virtually-identical services in the consciousnesses of an apathetic audience.

If the bank marketing works - which it must, otherwise why would they spend so much on it? - it probably does so by attrition, wearing down viewers until they surrender their consumer sovereignty - yeah, whatever, just don't lose my money or over-do the cross-selling.

I doubt, though, the banks engender anything in the way of loyalty or enthusiasm amongst adult viewers. (Having said that, a friend has been ranting on about The Co-operative Bank ¬ an updated version of the PSIS, whenever he gets the chance.)

But kids seem to respond to banking brands in a more positive manner as I discovered to my surprise last month.

Thanks to a fluke bet at the races (not an ideal first lesson in financial literacy, I admit) my daughter came into a relatively substantial cash sum.

Keen to parlay the big win into a more sober financial learning outcome, I suggested she plonk the lot in a bank account - minus my cut as the provider of capital.

I imagined that might result in a dreary trawl through the child account options of the various banks. Or at least a Google search (the best I could come up with was this old Consumer report).

Instead, she immediately named her banking institution of choice.

I don't recall having a preferred financial services provider as a six-year old so I was curious about her selection process: I didn't know what she was thinking.

"Why do you want that one?"

"Because my friend's got one and I want the same piggy bank."

And she's right, the helicopter is pretty cool.

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A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. He is the editor of industry website Investment News. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries.

Read more by David Chaplin

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