Consumers are not the only driving force behind expanded online and mobile banking. Businesses are moving rapidly into the world of e-banking, as well. Guardian Analytics’ 2012 Business Banking Trust Trends Study, for example, reported that 48 percent of small businesses surveyed conduct at least 50 percent of their banking online, with 54 percent of respondents accessing their business accounts from mobile devices — up from just 23 percent two years earlier. With some 25 million businesses in the United States, banks should not overlook this sizable and potentially profitable market.
Los Angeles-based City National understands the importance of developing convenient and secure solutions for business customers. The $28 billion asset bank recently introduced City National Book2Bank, an online and mobile business banking solution designed to solve a financial challenge for small and mid-sized businesses. Book2Bank is accessible online or via an iPad app and connects with accounting systems like QuickBooks to automate and simplify payment activities. As a result, business owners can manage invoices, generate electronic payments and streamline the payment approval process.
“City National is deeply committed to helping our business clients succeed and to offering solutions that help them reach their goals,” said James Daley, executive vice president and manager of treasury services for City National. “City National Book2Bank streamlines and secures the payment process, improves controls and gives our clients the simple, intuitive experience they expect.”
City National partnered with MineralTree Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., firm that delivers online payment solutions to the financial services industry. Its Commercial Bill Pay solution enables small and medium-sized businesses to make paying bills simple, secure and mobile, according to BC Krishna, president and CEO.
“We simplify and automate payments, insure payments against fraud and provide applications that can be used on-the-run, in addition to being available online,” said Krishna. “We were pleased to partner with City National in this effort.”
City National Book2Bank is designed expressly to solve a financial challenge for small and mid-size businesses, which find many online business payment systems either too small and geared for individual consumers, or too complex and geared for large corporations. Key benefits include integrated payments, allowing businesses to choose from electronic payments or automated check processing fulfilled by City National; ability to review and approve payments on a PC or an iPad; enhanced security, with locked-down architecture and available segregation of duties that virtually eliminates the risk of online fraud; and streamlined record-keeping, allowing clients to link and store invoices and supporting documents for easy retrieval and review.
“It’s very easy, very transparent,” said Greg Gallup, chief operating officer for Royal Coach Tours, a charter bus transportation firm in San Jose, Calif., that uses City National Book2Bank. “Our president likes it because she can make approvals from her iPad, which is convenient and saves time. You can also see the entire invoice, which is really helpful.”
As discussed last month, Fiserv predicts that tablets will become a dominant digital channel. Moreover, banks should create a tablet channel that features a user experience specific to the tablet (e.g., larger screen than smartphones and tendency to be used in a lean-back posture). As Krishna also points out, each of the three primary online channels — Web, tablet and smartphone — has a different form factor and makes different assumptions about connectivity. City National Book2Bank is a great example of a bank using the tablet to replace costly manual processes with a simple, secure alternative.
Michael Scheibach is executive editor of BankNews.
Copyright (c) May 2013 by BankNews Media