Key trends in person-to-person payments

July 11, 2016
/   Insights

The emergence of new technology solutions in the past few years has affected almost every aspect of the financial sector, but one area where this is making a real difference is in the person-to-person...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   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 or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

As banking becomes more commoditized, there’s less incentive for customers to stay with a bank that isn’t meeting their expectations of service and convenience. For the most part, the days when branch managers knew customers by name are long gone. Without those personal relationships to foster loyalty, banks have to find a way to digitize that feeling of being known and understood — if they want to have any hope of maintaining customer satisfaction.

The future of digital banking isn’t online, however; it’s on the smartphone — and that’s where banks need to sink their digital resources right now. While banking apps are still relatively novel and are seen as risky by some cautious consumers, the move to mobile banking is gaining momentum as people begin to understand the technology and security behind these apps. And once customers discover the ease and efficiency of mobile banking, it’s hard to go back to anything else. That means it’s up to banks to create a holistic and agile mobile banking experience that gives customers all the tools they need to manage their money on the go.

At an absolute minimum, a mobile component has to augment — seamlessly — a bank’s website and in-branch offerings. Anything that can be done online should also feature on the app. Customers are beginning to insist on apps that go beyond simply displaying a balance and allow them to make the same kinds of transactions they would online or in a branch. Similarly, they want a seamless, omnichannel banking experience: a customer using her smartphone app should be able to find and complete the same loan application she started online.

Speed is also key; the point of an app is to allow busy people to do their banking on the move. But bank apps are often clunky and slow. Aberdeen Group research from 2014 suggests that even a one-second delay in online load time can decrease customer satisfaction by 16%. Banks can’t expect their mobile customers to grant them much more lenience.

Despite wanting to do more with their phones, customers need an app that won’t bombard them with useless information and features they don’t actually use. The primary challenge for banks, then, is to think about efficiency and usability when building their mobile apps: what features do their customers actually want? Fortunately, user needs aren’t a mystery: in reality, people interact with banking apps in a fairly predictable way.

Thus, a strong focus on a straightforward, intelligent, user-centered interface should be a top priority. A personalized element is a small but excellent touch that allows customers to feel like more than just an account number. But many banks struggle to find the talent needed to design an easy-to-use interface and build the architecture to support it. For other banks, there’s a disconnect between what’s happening in the engineering department and at the designer’s desk, and much of the time, there’s no one involved the process who can advocate for the user. What’s required is a marriage of design and architecture — graphic designers and engineers working closely together, preferably in the same office. Many small, integrated design teams can offer this kind of working relationship.

The bottom line is that banks have to prioritize their mobile apps going forward. This is not an area in which to skimp: a great digital experience is a key brand differentiator and an excellent way to inspire customer loyalty. In a day and age when we usually only hear about a bank when it’s done something to upset its customers, the banks that will gain and retain customers are those that focus on adding value to their digital services and helping people spend less time and energy on their banking.

About Kishan Patel: Kishan is CEO of Kunai, a consulting firm focused on helping the financial services industry improve their software from a technical and usability perspective. Having been a partner in Monsoon — sold to CapitalOne in June — Kishan is dedicated to helping banks around the world improve their bottom line by using a strict product development process that is centered on customer satisfaction.


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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.

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.

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.

Brad Strothkamp