Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

Industry Perception, Optical Delusion

January 14, 2013
/   Insights

In Washington, they talk a lot about ‘optics.’ This has nothing to do with regulatory scrutiny, or government mandates on eyeglasses. It has to do with perception—how something looks, the way a particular story...

Social Banking: Blessing or Curse?

August 1, 2012
/   Insights

While the topic of Facebook and banking has generated plenty of heat (though not necessarily a lot of light), the debate seems mostly focused on two broad issues: The much-maligned IPO, and the notion...

Mobile Banking Engagement: Data from Digital Insight

June 24, 2013
/   Spotlight

Intuit Financial Services has been conducting a comprehensive and ongoing study of financial institution customers. From these studies, the company has been able to provide a deeper view of banking customer behavior across several...

Consider the difference between 2:29 minutes and 1:20 minutes: It’s not very long, just a little bit more than the time it takes to read a blog post like this. Yet in that short span we can find a perfect snapshot of modern-day banking.

According to data recently released by mobile banking app developer Malauzai Software, that first figure  of 2:29 minutes is how long an average mobile session lasted with a business banking user; the second refers to the average consumer transaction. The unmistakable takeaway is that businesses spend more time on mobile devices engaged in transactions with their bank than consumers do.

There’s another little surprise in the numbers as well. About 60% of the consumers logging in did it via an Apple device. Among business users, the number jumped to 81%.

To be sure, in this environment of constant transformation, even the most comprehensive survey can offer little more than a snapshot in time; today’s killer app is tomorrow’s legacy technology. And this particular data comes from 200-odd users at around 20 financial institutions. But even in this micro-research, it’s easy to see how different mobile banking is from traditional practices, and how much it in turn changes everything else.

Those with a longer memory and attention span than the typical teenager might remember that the iPhone and iPad were not by any measure the first mobile devices to hit the market, or even gain mass popularity. Even Apple’s own Newton, which made a splash with its arrival some 22 years ago, trailed a variety of offerings (particular in certain overseas markets), and it faced stiff competition from rivals such as the Palm Pilot, the Psion and Sony’s CLIÉ, just to name a few.

The problem was that despite broad-scale adoption by tech-savvy professionals, they had trouble being seen as anything but cool toys. Even the most diligent users would have had a hard time doing complex banking on those nifty little gadgets.

Coincidentally, Apple had the same problem—it faced bankruptcy while dominating the market for students and creative types. The very idea of financial services conglomerates retrofitting their infrastructure to accommodate the most recent Mac-heads was completely laughable. And now the same devices that unleashed Angry Birds on an unsuspecting world are used more by business banking types than their consumer counterparts. It’s a world gone mad.

The flip side of the picture, meanwhile, makes the madness even more evident.

Yes, financial institutions do get it. As the most recent report from Ovum Research reveals, mobile banking is comfortably perched at the top of retail banks’ investment priority list. With a clear focus on cost containment and efficiency, banks are funneling evermore resources into the mobile area—the numbers shot up in 2014, and will likely keep rising next year. And since consumers constantly experiment with new technologies, the institutions understand that they must meet high expectations for user-friendliness, even with regular shits in platforms and applications.

However, the report also makes clear that the path to success is not really clear. While mobile banking is definitely no longer an outlier—even with some large institutions, it’s approaching two-thirds of all traffic—the road to topline growth remains a challenge. And therein lies the continuing mystery.

The reality is that the path to real revenue is not narrow. For every institution, a comprehensive mobile strategy must encompass all touch points, not function as a separate entity. Even banks that have poured resources into these initiatives may not have internalized this message. When business banking users are spending more time connecting than consumers, and doing it via devices that contain all kinds of personal data, it’s time to throw out every rulebook and create a brand new one.

Even with constant platform shifts, mobile technologies cut costs while easing and enhancing personal service, even for business banking. If that isn’t a formula for success, are we doing something wrong?


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James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Brad Strothkamp

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.