The keys to fighting fraud?

September 8, 2016
/   Insights

We're constantly being warned that fraud is one of the biggest threats facing the banking industry, but the true scale of this was revealed by a recent survey that suggests it could make up...

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...

Google isn’t just a verb—it’s become a fundamental part of the daily experience by serving as an entry point into where we go and what we do, everywhere and all time. In the most basic sense, Google searches offer a peek into the zeitgeist.

That’s why the annual study tracking Google search trends in the banking industry, as seen in the Financial Brand, typically makes for interesting reading. The newest one is no exception.

Some searches are both surprising and hard to explain. For example, it may be time for the credit union industry to do some outreach or otherwise gain attention—banks generated eight times more searches, a phenomenon that has stayed true for several years now. More to the point, bank-related searches continue to rise, while those for credit unions do not. For a sector that can be so critical to so many consumers, this is a worrisome trend.

Digging deeper, some banks seem to generate more searches than others. Bank of America roared to the top of the list three years ago, but has declined since. Wells Fargo, meanwhile, has steadily become more popular on the search matrix, with volumes doubling in just four years. It would be interesting to uncover what factors might be causing these changes. Could they be tied to internal initiatives, such as a successful ad campaign or the release of new services and mobile apps? Or could it be a wave of negative headlines, such as those regarding lawsuits? Big Data be used to explain so much; any pointers toward answers here would be welcome.

But then, of course, we get to the mobile area, and that’s always grounds for significant changes. True to form, mobile banking solutions continue to spike in popularity—the billions devoted to development and distribution, not to mention security, seem to be paying off. Oddly, searches for bank branches and ATMs haven’t receded. If anything, it’s speculated that mobile capabilities are actually fueling this activity—geo-location features mean consumers can be told where the nearest ATM is more easily than ever before.

On the flip side, consumers don’t seem nearly as interested in mobile payments. This is an area virtually crying out for growth, which stubbornly isn’t coming. As discussed here before, there’s certainly no shortage of available options, with a plethora of initiatives dedicated to making it easier for consumers to pay their bills via the smartphone or tablet. But the flood of applications hasn’t yet yielded a killer app. And that’s all it takes for a trend to take off.

Of course, the betting now is that Apple Pay, which is only just hitting the market, will play exactly this role. The innovative conglomerate is certainly up to the challenge, and has done it many times before. However, the obstacles in the way of broad-scale adoption are still around, and the barrier to entry in this market is in some ways even higher than before. It will be interesting to see a year from now what consumers are searching for online.

Reading too much into Google searches would be a mistake, but as mentioned earlier they do provide an interesting snapshot of the current climate. What that instant picture is showing now is that while the outside world may think of banking a staid and stodgy industry largely resistant to change, it is in fact always undergoing significant transformation.

That’s a good thing. In fact, let’s hope that the next study a year from now has very different metrics. What’s on your wish list? What would you like to see changing?


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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.

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.