Jordan Yanco, a New York City-based dialects coach, has a problem with banks.
Like many Americans, Yanco views banks as over-promising and under-delivering - and forcing too many fees down consumers' throats.
"I consider myself a good banking consumer who has stayed with the banks I love and closed the accounts of the ones who could have done better," he says. "Now, heading into 2016, I see banks touting great savings rates of 0.93%, as if that will entice customers with small account returns - and even smaller fine print."
Banks treat you with great account opening and reward offers, if you've got direct deposit and/or high minimum balances, Yanco adds. "But they don't doesn't cater to small business people or freelancers like myself, who don't direct deposit but have outstanding credit," he sasy.
Yanco says the biggest change banks need to make are minimizing or eliminating high charges. "They charge fees for every little thing, like late fees, overdraft fees, and minimum balance," he says. "The two main reasons banks exist are to hold our cash, and for help when we make big purchases. If banks start dipping into our own money, it's time to walk away."
Yanco seems fairly representative of mainstream banking consumers heading into 2016. They're generally satisfied with their own financial situations but appear frustrated over shortcomings from their financial institutions.
They're also beginning to accelerate distancing themselves from bank branches and from banks altogether - with the younger consumers, in particular, leading the charge.
Those are some key takeaways from two brand new consumer banking surveys.
The first, from Bankrate.com points to some eye-opening trends among bank customers. For instance, consumers are growing increasingly indifferent about visiting bank branches, deciding instead to bank via mobile or online. According to Bankrate, 40% of Americans haven't visited a bank or credit union branch in at least six months, and only 45% of Americans have visited a branch to conduct personal financial business within the past 30 days (ATMs were not included in these figures, Bankrate says.)
Banking consumers seem increasingly comfortable with conducting banking business away from physical bank branches, with some exceptions. Still, that doesn't mean bank branches are going away. "It's clear that many Americans still utilize a physical branch, though more for financial consultations and account openings than for routine transactions," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. "The fact that even Millennials, who have a penchant for doing things online, are physically going to the bank is a good indication that branches won't end up on the endangered species list any time soon."
Demographically, the genders differ on how they view banks and their money, according to Bankrate. According to the survey, "men's feelings of financial security have improved over the past year, while women's feelings this month show a slight deterioration compared to one year ago."
Overall, banking consumer's overall comfort with their personal savings efforts is in decline, although they are bullish on their personal debt situations, and their "overall financial situation," Bankrate reports.
A separate study - this one from Fintonic, a leading financial management services provider in Spain and Latin America - shows that consumers believe tech companies like Apple or Google "will become the banks most people use in the future."
According to Fintonic, one in six banking consumers under the age of 54 think robots will replace bank tellers in physical branches, while one in seven say tech giants like Google or Apple could do a better job at banking transactions and customer service than traditional banks. Additionally, all age groups in the Fintonic study agreed that mobile payments will become more common than card or cash transactions within the next ten years.
Clearly, consumers appear to be at a crossroads with their banks as 2016 beckons - indifferent to branches, hostile to fees and low savings rates, and increasingly open to non-banking alternatives.
"In a lot of ways, banks are becoming dinosaurs and are being replaced by newer and more flexible financial solutions," says Priyanka Prakash, a finance specialist at New York City-based FitBiz Loans, which helps small business owners access loan options. "Many of our clients who are looking for business financing are entrepreneurs who have been rejected by banks or who simply don't want to use their local bank anymore. We usually send these clients to alternative lenders or P2P lenders."
Shying away from bank branches and turning toward alternative banking sources appear to be two big trends evolving heading into a new year. They're also trends that won't help banking executives sleep well at night in 2016.