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Millennials in Singapore eschew power and fame for self-fulfillment and caring for the community: FRANK by OCBC survey

Millennials in Singapore eschew power and fame for self-fulfillment and caring for the community: FRANK by OCBC survey

  • 03 Apr 2019

Insights and data on millennials has enabled OCBC Bank to design the most holistic and integrated banking programme for millennials in Singapore – FRANK by OCBC.

Singapore, 3 April 2019 – The majority of Singapore millennials are extremely passionate about social causes such as human rights, poverty and helping the elderly, and prefer to gain life experiences when they have the financial means, rather than physical possessions.

These key insights of millennials were revealed in the inaugural annual FRANK by OCBC survey, the FRANKly Asked Questions, which aims to understand and track four psychographic variables – values, attitudes, interests and desired experiences – of millennials over time. Conducted between January and February 2019, 866 students and young working adults aged 16 to 29 years old were asked a total of 50 questions in an online survey. Forty-five per cent of the respondents were students from all Singapore universities and polytechnics.¹

An integrated banking programme for millennials in Singapore

OCBC Bank created the FRANK by OCBC banking programme in 2011. It remains the only programme which provides millennials with banking products and solutions designed for them as they go through milestones in life as tertiary students, to entering the workforce as young professionals. FRANK by OCBC offers millennials deposit accounts, credit and debit cards, insurance, investment products and study loans. The other programme activities in place today include:

  • Financial literacy seminars organised regularly for FRANK by OCBC customers to learn how to invest and manage their finances
  • Helping youths give back to the community
    • Organising youth dives to clean up the reefs of plastic waste
    • Supporting campus programmes such as at Prinsep Street Residences, where SMU students organise overseas Community Involvement Programmes and programmes to give back to the Bras Basah community
  • Helping youths prepare for future careers
    • FRANKpreneurship – learning human-centred design and start-up business principles as they are mentored by The Open Vault at OCBC and different teams in OCBC Bank to tackle real banking challenges

Insights from the FRANKly Asked Questions survey will help FRANK by OCBC develop more comprehensive programmes on financial literacy and beyond to meet millennials’ holistic needs. They will include:

  •  Helping youths to build their wealth
    • Looking to introduce new investment and insurance products which will be affordable for youths
    • Organising financial seminars with partners such as SGX to learn the basics of investing
  • Helping youths to raise awareness of environmental issues
    • Supporting #noplastics initiatives by distributing reusable tote bags at the NUS FRANK store and Cheers and FairPrice outlets at NUS

Mr Dennis Tan, OCBC Bank’s Head of Consumer Financial Services Singapore, said: “The ‘FRANKly Asked Questions’ is the first FRANK by OCBC survey that we will be conducting annually. The survey has revealed insights into the psyche of millennials today and the values and attitudes they hold dear. In addition to the deep and rich insights that we already have from banking with one in two youths in Singapore, this enables us to tailor products and services that they will find useful at every stage of their lives and help achieve their aspirations.”

Key Insights from FRANKly Asked Questions 

  • Youths are motivated to discover their inner selves, care for their family and society, and are less likely to be materialistic in nature
    • 86% of millennials are motivated to understand their inner selves, compared to being famous (32%)
    • 3 in 4 millennials are concerned about their parents’ finances for retirement, and find it important to help others
    • Less than half of millennials want to gain physical possessions when they have the money
  • They understand the importance of a well-rounded education, value work-life balance at the workplace, and are practical
    • 82% of millennials feel that internships and working experience is crucial; 73% agree that getting a degree is a necessity
    • Work-life balance is their top consideration for an ideal job
    • 83% of millennials want to secure a job with regular income, rather than start a family (46%) or start a business (37%)
    • 70% of millennials will only consider marriage once their career is stable
  • They are generally positive in their financial attitudes, but more could be done to keep them informed and educated about investments and insurance
    • 41% of millennials struggle to stick to their saving plan
    • While 69% of millennials want to start buying insurance policies and 71% want to start investing, less than half of millennials consider themselves knowledgeable about insurance and investments
  • They are interested in bigger societal issues and new technologies, but are less interested in entrepreneurship and freelancing
    • The top 5 most important social causes millennials care about are human rights (82%), poverty (81%), the environment (79%), helping the elderly (79%) and mental health awareness (79%)
    • Millennials are more excited about the Internet of Things (73%) and Artificial Intelligence (62%) than going cashless (59%) or self-driving cars (57%)
    • Less than half of millennials are interested in starting a business in the next five years, or being a freelancer
  • They value gaining life experiences to value-add to themselves, and are constantly seeking to broaden their horizons and skillsets
    • 82% of millennials say gaining life experiences will be a priority when they have the financial means
    • 82% want to maintain relevant skillsets, which is their top motivation for pursuing higher education
    • 76% like to try new and different things, and half of them often try out new and trendy restaurants

New ‘borderless’ FRANK Store at NUS

The survey comes on the heels of the opening of the fourth and newest FRANK by OCBC Store at the National University of Singapore (NUS) last month. Taking over the space at the Stephen Riady Centre at University Town (UTown), which was previously a sports shop, OCBC Bank won a public tender for the space by offering to build a bank branch to offer students an essential service, and at the same time, add vibrancy to UTown through the creative design and use of the space. Occupying an area of 947 square feet, the FRANK by OCBC Store at NUS is a testament to the deep knowledge and insights FRANK by OCBC boasts in understanding the interests of millennials and integrating banking and financial literacy into their lives to make it accessible and relatable. The new FRANK by OCBC Store integrates features that are desired by millennials – borderless and digital interactions, environmental sustainability and a casual setting for banking.

Like all other FRANK by OCBC Stores, the Store at NUS is designed differently from a traditional bank branch, making it attractive for students to come into the Store to take their time to browse and ask questions about banking products and services, play games or catch up with their friends over coffee.

The new Store at NUS is Singapore’s first borderless and open-concept bank branch that does not utilise shutters or barriers after operating hours, and has no teller counters.

Students interact with banking staff – known as FRANK Ambassadors – at the store’s collaboration areas, and can access the store round-the-clock to study or to get snacks at the cashless vending machine using the OCBC Pay Anyone mobile payments app. A ‘Future of Banking Zone’ highlights new mobile and Internet banking features on the latest iPads and iPhones, and enables students to try out digital banking services, including interacting with chatbot ‘Emma’ about study loans.

The other FRANK by OCBC stores are located at Singapore Management University, Nanyang Technological University and orchardgateway mall.

¹Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore University of Social Science, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.


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Millennials eschew power and fame for self-fulfillment and caring for the community: Inaugural FRANK by OCBC survey on Singapore millennials will track four psychographic variables - alues, attitudes, interests and desired experiences - of millennials over time.


Inaugural FRANK by OCBC survey finds millennials in Singapore eschew material wealth for personal fulfilment.

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Bernadette Yuen