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U S mobile banking soars 50 in 2011
MADISON, Wis. (12/13/12)--Mobile banking in the U.S. has soared 50% since 2011, according to a new global survey. Another survey found that marketing mobile banking can help credit unions and other financial institutions double the average adoption rates. And recent announcements indicate both credit unions and banks are taking advantage of mobile opportunities.

Asia has the highest mobile banking penetration, but survey respondents in the U.S. reported the highest frequency of use--an average 4.9 mobile transactions in the previous three months, according to Bain & Company's annual "Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking Report" for 2012.

Mobile banking is having the biggest impact on routine banking activities, said Bain, with 64% of mobile banking users in the U.S. saying that the future ability to use their smartphones or tablets to check account balances would be highly valued (Business Wire Dec. 11). Also, 41% of mobile banking consumers say that using their smart device for remote deposit capture through a digital image of an endorsed check would be highly valued, and 26% would value paying bills through their mobile device.

"Mobile banking presents profit-strapped banks with an opportunity to shift routine transactions from high-cost physical channels to much lower-cost digital channels," said Gerard du Toit, Bain financial services partner and lead author of the report.  "It also presents opportunities for banks to create more 'wow' experiences that use new digital technologies to delight customers and deepen customer loyalty."

The study found that across all banking models, U.S. mobile users report greater loyalty.

Marketing can significantly impact consumer adoption of mobile financial services, according to data provided by Mobiliti mobile banking and payments solutions and analyzed by Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv Inc. (Business Wire Dec. 12). 

Financial institutions that have actively marketed mobile banking have experienced an average adoption rate that is twice as high as financial institutions that have not promoted the service, said Fiserv. Within 12 to 18 months after launching Mobiliti, financial institutions that didn't market the service saw about 10% of eligible persons adopt mobile banking. Those who marketed the service saw adoption rates over 20% and in many cases over 30%, said Fiserv.

Credit unions and banks using Mobiliti have access to mobile adoption services from Fiserv to increase adoption and use of mobile banking, leading to a higher return on their mobile investment, said Fiserv.

"The focus on marketing mobile banking should be on educating customers--if customers understand how they can benefit from the service and how to get started, the convenience will compel them to extend the relationship with their financial institution to their favorite devices," said Steve Shaw, Fiserv vice president, strategic marketing, digital channels and electronic payments.

Bank of America has taken that advice to heart.  As part of a multi-pronged campaign to grow its mobile banking customers, it plans to outfit its teller stations with quick response (QR) codes that can be scanned by mobile devices to download the mobile app (American Banker Dec. 11).

The importance of mobile banking isn't lost on credit unions. A number in the past few months have announced various mobile banking services.

The latest is Michigan First CU, a more than $625 million asset credit union based in Lathrup Village, Mich. , which  announced Tuesday it had launched a new feature to allow mobile deposits for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. Users of its mobile service can now take a photo of a check with their mobile device and deposit it directly into their checking or savings account.

"The use of mobile banking will continue to grow rapidly over the next several years, so we're investing in strengthening this technology for our members," said Michigan First President/CEO Michael Poulos. "You can't beat the convenience of snapping a quick photo with your phone to deposit a check. With today's busy lifestyles, we're constantly working to make the banking experience as fast and easy as possible for our members."


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