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...

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...

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...

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
/   Insights

Recently, the team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
/   Insights

The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

When it comes to mobile banking, it’s hard to pinpoint something new because there’s always something new. Every week, financial services and technology companies alike put new apps into the marketplace. Many seek to replace or otherwise improve on what’s in place now, while others try to come up with entirely new functionality.

Still, it’s important to monitor key milestones and emerging trends, and that’s just one reason why the news this week about Numbrs is quite interesting. In fact, there might be 3.8 million reasons, since that’s how many dollars its backer, Centralway, just pumped into it to prepare for a U.S. launch. The new cash infusion follows a $7.7 million investment the same backer has committed to making in Numbrs for a push in Germany, and there are also plans for a major invasion of the U.K. market. (Sticking with the international flavor, Centralway is Swiss.)

So what is it about Numbrs that generates this kind of multi-market enthusiasm? It’s essentially a dashboard, not unlike, that enables users not only to track or even predict their spending, but also conduct transactions and pay bills from within the app. Perhaps more interestingly—and this is where potential revenue streams may lie—it boasts of having the ability to predict future spending patterns. That’s surely a powerful lure to data-driven marketers.

On a completely unrelated note, technology provider Backbase, which bills itself as the Bank 2.0 portal specialist, this week added to its portfolio with software for commercial banking. The portal, which is sold directly to banks, features an all-purpose dashboard that’s fully personalized and enables users to work with every kind of existing app on every popular piece of hardware, from smartphones to desktops.

Sure, nobody’s talked about portals in the past 15 years, and dashboards aren’t supposed to be cutting-edge either. But these slightly retro concepts, and others like them, do point to subtle changes in the market. Essentially, they acknowledge that users will draw on a variety of apps from a variety of developers, regardless of the financial institution they count on, to do what they need to do. It’s up to the banks to accommodate them, rather than insisting on pushing their own products exclusively.

In this regard, the nature of the user demographic is very significant. The new xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase Study, out this week, shows more clearly than ever before which way the market is headed. To put in bluntly, the millennials dominate: Almost half of all mobile bankers are younger than 35, and a third cite their smartphone as the most important device for banking.

The numbers are clearly telling: Nearly two-thirds of these younger bankers relied on their devices throughout the transaction, from research to conversion. Even more, nearly 75%, say they noticed the mobile ads that popped up during the process. Bottom line: Nearly half of all online banking transactions now take place via mobile devices.

It’s easy to get rattled not just by the changes but the pace at which they’re occurring. The banking world has long counted on stability, longevity and loyalty, while the technology industry delights in going from upstart to legacy seemingly overnight. The regular flow of new apps with new capabilities, all of which have a direct effect on user behavior, seems designed to reward fickleness. But that’s the price we pay for the constant pursuit of innovation.

The new generation of core banking customers is accustomed to convenience and instant gratification, regardless of where they get it, and it’s up to the financial services industry to keep up. The flow of apps isn’t going to be cut off anytime soon, and platform technologies and methodologies, not to mention revenue models, must be broad enough to encompass them. Those that do it right, whether with innovative approaches like dashboards and portals or newer alternatives, stand to do very well.


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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.