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From Web-Centric to Mobile-First

By: Michael Scheibach

Time is running out for those banks holding back on their technology initiatives, especially in the mobile realm. Consumers want more mobile services; businesses want more mobile services; and they both want them available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Notice that the operative phrase is “mobile services.” Account look-up, balance transfer and even SMS alerts are old news. Banks today must deliver remote deposit, person-to-person payments, mobile payments and mobile marketing, to name just a few of services on the quickly expanding list of applications being incorporated into our everyday lives.

Speaking at the recent Mobile Banking & Commerce Summit in Miami, David Eads emphasized the necessity for financial institutions to move from being a Web-centric organization to a mobile-first one. Eads, founder and CEO of Mobile Strategy Partners LLC, told attendees that mobile-first means more than mobile; rather, “It is a fundamental change in interaction with customers, employees and partners.” The objective is to create a “holistic experience” for customers by creating new omni-channel offerings (i.e., the same offerings with the same features delivered on any device), including photo bill pay, loan and mortgage origination, merchant tools, mobile payments, loyalty programs and remote deposit. Eads presented six key questions that need to be answered before embarking on this transformation:

Every community financial institution will have its own goals, its own definition of success and its own roadblocks. But that’s the point. Identify what your institution can do — should do — then do it because your customers and potential customers are changing . . .  and changing dramatically.

Joanna Livadas, chief marketing officer of PaidPiper, a mobile payments solution provider, addressed these changes by pointing out that more than 141 million Americans now have the ability to make mobile payments and that annual mobile purchases will total some $240 billion this year and are expected to increase to $670 billion by 2015. Livadas, speaking at the Mobile Banking Summit, stressed the need for banks to close the purchase loop between consumers, retailers and banks.

Consumers still trust banks with their information; and banks have extensive cardholder and financial information — a combination that translates into a real opportunity for banks to leverage their strengths in the mobile arena.

ING Direct Canada is one such bank making the most of this leverage. Keynote speaker Charaka Kithulegoda, chief information officer, told attendees that ING Direct is the only bank in the world with mobile apps for all its major platforms and, more significant, has no branches. The bank’s message is simple, straightforward and bold: “Whether your device is a tablet, a laptop or a smartphone, you can bank with us anywhere.”

Kithulegoda listed five trends with significant implications for the banking industry:

Numerous speakers at the Mobile Banking & Commerce Summit summarized these trends into one major point: The need to become mobile-first with omni-channel capabilities is paramount to remain competitive.

Michael Scheibach is executive editor of BankNews.

Copyright (c) August 2013 by BankNews Media