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 Banking.com 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 Banking.com 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 Banking.com 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...

Even taking relationships into account, is modern banking like modern dating?

That’s probably not a question that’s even been asked before, but in the era of mobile technologies, where instant decisions can implemented by swiping right or left, it probably has some validity. Specifically, as some have been lamenting recently, the emergence of easy-to-use tools have taken their toll on old-time bonds that once existed between customer and teller. Personal finance long had a personal connection, and in the digital age that’s just gone. Sure, the easy access to every kind of data and capability with a click or two perfectly encapsulates the priorities of modern life, but we could argue that this disappearing act contributes to the loss of brand loyalty now causing our industry so much distress.

That said, does the glut of online and mobile banking tools have to come at the cost of human connections? Can the two co-exist? In fact can’t one enhance the other?

Earlier this year, Toronto-based Tangerine Bank became one of the first financial services institutions to offer encrypted chat sessions through its mobile app and online banking site. In a sense, it’s an extension of the ban’s forays into online and mobile channels (Tangerine was named American Banker’s ‘Mobile Banker of the Year’ back in 2013). But it is also a serious attempt to forge closer relationships with existing and new customers.

The obvious thought here is that this is a gift to a previous generation that prefers broader communication than clicks and swipes. That might well be one element of the equation, but here’s an alternative take.

Around this time last year, consulting giant Accenture put out a comprehensive report titled “Banking Shaped by the Customer” that built on a survey of more than 4,000 retail bank customers in North America. Naturally, the study analyzed preferences of the coming generation of millennials, and here was one dramatic finding: Nearly half of all respondents, 48%, want their banks to offer video chat. Only 30% of those over 55 had the same preference.

Yes, indeed: Those kids who seem glued to social channels and texting want to see and talk to the teller.

To be clear, Tangerine’s Secure Chat is still about typed conversations, but it does go much further than other services, including its own previous offering, which enabled only general conversations. The new service goes deep into confidential banking matters, including mortgages and other complex transactions. Secure Chat uses Genesys technology and operates on a customized platform developed in collaboration with IBM.

Of course, other institutions are moving ahead with their own advances in these areas. For example, across the pond, Lloyds Bank and Halifax just announced that mortgage advice is now available via video chat from PCs and tablets. The service was tested throughout last year, and was successful by every measure: The company says that a third of all appointments that would have otherwise been conducted over the phone took place face-to-face.

Closer to home, Wells Fargo is being closely watched for its pending launch of a video chat service set to debut this summer. In a sense it’s much like Skype, enabling face-to-face dialogue regarding lines of credit and other services. But there’s an interesting twist: Customers can choose the banker they want to talk to. Sure, those choices might be impulsive and cater entirely to personal preferences and even prejudices, but isn’t that how personal bonds are formed?

That brings us back in a way to the dating analogy. In banking, dating and every other activity, technology isn’t an end in itself—the whole point is to enable human actions, choices and priorities. Convenience is definitely one of those, but only one. Personal connections are vital, and everything from mobile GUIs to artificial intelligence should serve that purpose. If video banking helps meet that goal, then let’s hope it takes hold in our industry, and soon.

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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.

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

http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/brad_strothkamp

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.