Steve Jobs and His Impact on the Banking Industry

The news of Steve Jobs’ resignation hit Twitter with thousands of Tweets echoing the news of his resignation. As a well recognized and idolized CEO, Steve Jobs changed the way consumers use personal computers, tablets, music and more. Not only did he bring Apple’s stock from $7 a share in 2003 to approximately $400 a share in 2011, he enamored a market and even the youngest children in today’s generation are asking their parents for iPhones and iPads.

You’d be hard pressed to find an industry that was not touched by Steve Jobs, and banking is no exception. Most financial intuitions have their own iPhone and iPad apps that consumers can download and use on-the-go, but beyond that, banks have started installing touch screens, facial recognition in signage displays, media walls and other touches that are reminiscent of Apple.

Brett King, author of Bank 2.0: How Customer Behavior and Technology Will Change the Future of Financial Services, wrote, “When historians look back at the massive shift in banking and the rapid decline in branch activity, the death of cheques, plastic and cash — the inflection point will be the creation of the App Phone. This is perhaps Steve Jobs’ greatest legacy for banking today. He has changed the way our customers behave, he’s changed the way we think, and the way we demand service. Thanks to Steve Jobs’ vision — banking of the future will be about banking embedded everyday into our life, a true utility, and no longer a place you go.”

You can read Brett’s full article in the Huffington Post.

How do you think Steve Jobs changed the banking industry? Do you agree with Brett King? Let us know in the comments section below, or Tweet @bankingdotcom.


Social Media Statistics: By-the-Numbers, August 2011 Part II

Below are interesting statistics on social media usage. Feel free to share your favorite social media statistics in the comments section or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

  • 1 trillion page views for Facebook in June 2011, making it the most visited site on the web (Source: Google Ad Planner)
  • 65% of adults use social networking sites, up from 61% in 2010 (Source: Pew Research)
  • 71% of companies surveyed said they block employees from visiting social networking sites at work (Source: Proskauer)
  • 54% of people surveyed indicated they feel some level of addiction to their social network of choice (Source: Webroot)
  • 44% of companies surveyed said they had policies in place to track employees’ social media use in and out of the office (Source: Proskauer)
  • 14.7% of the top one million websites in the world run WordPress, up from 8.5% in 2010 (Source: WordPress)
  • $3.08 billion will be spent by US marketers to advertise on social networks in 2011, a 55% increase over 2010 (Source: eMarketer)
  • 16,000,000 mobile users in the US watched TV or video on their mobile phones in June 2011 (Source: comScore)
  • 69% of women use social networking sites while 60% of men do the same (Source: Pew Research)

Last week’s earthquake on the East Coast created a Twitter frenzy. Here is an animated map of the Tweets from Tuesday, August 23.

What We’re Reading

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.

  • Banks Saturate Market with Mobile Apps

American Banker

Not only are more banks offering mobile banking, more are also releasing multiple applications to try to appeal to as many types of banking customers as possible. The primary benefit of a fragmented approach is speed-to-market. Bankers say that if they’re the first to offer a new feature, they’ll have an advantage over their competitors. Building a new app from scratch can in many cases be faster than integrating a new feature into an existing one.

Read more

  • What Steve Jobs’ Resignation from Apple Means for Banks

American Banker

Steve Jobs’ resignation as Apple Computer’s chief executive may prove a mixed bag—but a critically important one—for banks. Industry officials involved in mobile payments long ago stopped waiting for Apple to take the first step into the area. Yet the iconic company’s influence on the financial world has been substantial—and mostly unilateral. Apple has rarely gone public with its plans for payments. Even today, with the company rumored to be weeks away from launching the iPhone 5, few outsiders know for certain whether the handset will include a payments-capable near-field communication chip.

Read more

  • Drama and Intrigue in the Core Systems Market

Bank Systems & Technology

Art Gillis of Bank Systems & Technology has heard of the banking crunch, the one and only downgrade, high numbers of bank failures, bailouts, bank fraud, foreclosure screw-ups, free-fall mortgage lending, big-name Wall Street failures, stupid acquisitions by wannabe heroes, CEO firings, hotel room scandals, politicians playing economists, the quest for jobs, credit limits once a cardholder issue, and unprecedented stock market gyrations. But bank technology has never really caught the attention of press room histrionics. So what’s going on with the 2011 Edition of Automation in Banking? Here’s what he saw:

Read more

  • The Coming World of Smaller Banks

Celent Banking Blog

Frank Partnoy wrote a fascinating opinion piece in Financial Times last week about the coming world of smaller banks. Other blogs suggest that getting smaller is all about shedding the branch network and its associated cost structure, then life would be wonderful for banks. Experience with branch closures suggests a good amount of customers would be lost along with those branches in the vast majority of cases. Branch networks need rationalizing.

Read more

  • The Revenue Growth Challenge: It’s Time to Drill Down

Gonzo Banker

For the first quarter of 2010, the banking industry generated $170 billion of revenue. A year later, through the tireless efforts of more than a million bankers, the industry generated $165 billion of revenue, a 3% drop. Listen to any bank stock analyst today and they will emphasize their concerns about future revenue growth in the banking industry. With flat to shrinking loan demand, regulatory assaults on non-interest income and declining mortgage banking volumes, running a bank feels a bit like flying a balloon with a leak in it – not a fun ride!

Read more

  • Bank Person to Person Payments – small steps

Javelin Strategy & Research Blog

Person-to-person payments are generally considered payments via an email address or cell phone number when the person’s bank account number is not known. Recently Bank of America and Wells Fargo announced that they were beta testing a new service to allow person-to-person payments. Both banks recently announced an agreement with ClearXchange. As several Javelin employees are customers of these banks, it was with great anticipation that we tested this service.

Read more

  • Tweeting to Build Customer Engagement

Javelin Strategy & Research Blog

Overall, few banks and financial services firms are currently participating on Twitter, but that is changing. Financial service providers considering entry into the Twitter-sphere should: Develop a targeted base of followers; or if your organization already has followers, segment them for targeted approaches. Create messages and/or value-propositions specifically designed for populations that use social media; this is an ideal environment for attracting Gen Y. Use Twitter to engage customers – consider special offers or links to photos or video targeted for the intended follower audience.

Read more


FI Spotlight: Des Moines Police Officers’ Credit Union

Iowa-based Des Moines Police Officers’ CU kicked off its mobile banking offerings by increasing adoption 45 percent in just four months. To increase adoption of the mobile web banking service, DMPOCU held a contest sponsored by Credit Union Service Organization  (CUSO), CU*Answers , and the Xtend CUSO, which gave members a chance to win an Apple iPad for every Mobile Web Banking log-in. DMPOCU CEO Janet Lintin is looking to expand the credit union’s mobile banking capabilities and provides insights for other financial organizations looking to increase mobile banking adoption.

“Focus on people who are already comfortable using electronic delivery, including home banking, bill pay and e-statements, and then leverage those systems to carry your message.”

Des Moines Police Officers’ CU’s (DMPOCU) “Me 247 Mobile Web Banking” gets its mobile-optimized website from CU*Answers . While the mobile web product is free, CU*Answers charges credit unions for “It’s Me 247 SMS Text Banking” and “Mobile App Banking” products.

You can read more about Des Moines Police Officers’ CU’s mobile banking offering here.

How are you helping your members go mobile? Let us know by tweeting @bankingdotcom or adding your thoughts in the comment section below.

Underwhelmed With Your Online Sales Results? Try Adjusting Your Focus

By Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group

Many firms have built online application capabilities assuming that it will drive the acquisition of new customers and members; but when the results are less than stellar, some firms question the value of the Web as a sales channel. The problem might not be the channel, but, instead, how firms are selling and whom they are targeting.

As Aite Group talks to banks and credit unions about their online selling efforts, we see several commonly missed growth opportunities:

1. Cross-sell to your existing base. Your best cross-sell prospects can be found within your existing base. Many firms are challenged with a base that owns a single product, a low-balance checking account. Rather than bringing in more single product customers/members, focus on cross-selling deposit and credit products to your current website users.

2. Prioritize demand generation and conversion. Implementing online account opening capabilities ahead of building capabilities around demand generation and demand conversion can produce frustration. If you don’t fill the pipeline, there will be few potential accounts to open. The reverse is true, as well. Filling the pipeline with prospects, and providing landing pages and comparison tools that persuade them to buy a product can produce less-than-satisfactory results if effective online account opening capabilities are lacking.

3. Sense-and-respond to online sales opportunities. When we talk to firms about their online marketing and sales capabilities, their plans often include integrating the online channel with enterprise-wide CRM efforts and using the website to deliver messages that would otherwise have been sent through direct mail and email. While this is good, it misses the key opportunity that the online channel provides: To sense-and-respond to opportunities as they come up. Today, few banks and credit unions mine online bill pay or card (debit or credit) purchase activity to identify marketing opportunities.

What stymies your online sales efforts? Is it channel competition with the branches, lack of targeted online marketing capabilities, the inability to instantly fund and open accounts? To join the conversation visit In:Volve.

Google Buys Motorola Mobility…And So Begins The Dark Ages

By Gene Marks, originally posted on

Editor’s Note: Gene Marks is a small business management columnist, author, and speaker who also owns and operates The Marks Group PC, a highly successful 10-person firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium sized businesses. The Marks Group PC, launched in 2004, has grown to help more than 500 companies and more than 2,000 individuals throughout the country. Gene writes weekly online columns for The New York Times and Forbes, as well as monthly and bi-weekly columns for Bloomberg Business Week and American City Business Journals. Intuit has, on several occasions, contracted Gene to provide marketing-related services.

Last week I finally, finally purchased a Motorola D3 smartphone. I’m loving it! And I’m loving Google!  So you’d think that I’d be loving the news that Google is purchasing Motorola’s cell phone business, right?

I’m not. This is like the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. And the beginning of technology’s dark ages. At least for many small businesses like mine.

Lots of reasons are given for the acquisition. Most experts believe that it’s motivated by certain patents that Motorola owns which will help Google defend itself against infringement lawsuits brought on by Apple.

ZDNet’s Jason Hiner agrees, but also offers this reason: “…it’s pretty clear that Google also wants to have the option of producing its own hardware devices so that it can build prototypes, concept hardware, and leading edge devices to demonstrate its vision and point its ecosystem partners in the right direction.  With Apple’s continued success in mobile, BlackBerry’s large (albeit fading) market share, HP’s new hardware/software unification with WebOS, and now the Google-Motorola deal, it’s becoming clear that vertical integration is winning in mobile. Going forward, look for the latest, greatest, high-end devices to all be vertically integrated, while many of the low-cost, copy-cat devices will come to the market later and be made by mass market manufacturers like Samsung.”

This is all great for Google. But will this news help my small business? Unfortunately, no. The empire is breaking up. Chaos is approaching. Life, particularly for my business, is about to become more complicated.

Chart 1 (here)

Chart 2 (here)

No one can argue with the above two charts. PC shipments over the past few years have been consistently below the peak levels from the 1990’s. And other devices, like tablets and mobile phones, have taken off. This is the main reason why HP decided last week to get out of the PC business and focus instead on software to power all these gadgets. Workstations and servers are on their way to becoming generic boxes, waiting for the customer to install their operating system and applications of choice.

None of this is good news for small business. Like the people of ancient Rome we complain about our conditions and our leaders. We say we want better choices. But really we just want things that make life easier. And things that work. Inexpensively. Which is the way it used to be.

Because once upon a time there was just one evil empire and it was named Microsoft. Every computer shipped was shipped with Windows. And people complained about them all the time. The company faced anti-monopoly lawsuits from both individuals and governments. We frequently grumbled about Windows: its bugs, the blue screens of death, the bloatedness of it all. Its software was targeted by endless armies of hackers. Of course, these being more civilized times, no on attempted to assassinate its CEO. But pies were thrown. Competing operating systems, like Linux, were more like harassing barbaric tribes.

These were the days of Pax Microsoft. And during those days, technology flourished. Software developers developed software. Lots of it. And primarily for businesses. And business owners like me were more productive. Microsoft’s biggest selling product became Office. And other software vendors created applications for accounting, order entry, inventory management, communications and customer relationship management.

Of course, the Caesars weren’t perfect. And neither was Microsoft. Why? Their Windows software was flawed, annoying, frustrating and an oftentimes faulty platform for which to write software. But, like the bureaucracy of Rome, the system worked. It was stable (for the most part). It was consistent. And, like the Roman Denarius, it was accepted in just about every business in the country.  Microsoft partnered with hardware companies but never owned them. They just wrote software for them. And we could buy software knowing that it was Windows compatible.

But now that’s all changing. Microsoft has slipped, and the Pax Microsoft era is coming apart. The Gauls and the Goths are invading. The world has gone mobile. And the empire is losing the mobile market to Apple and Google.

So now we no longer just have Microsoft Windows. We have Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. More choice is good, yes? No. There is no one company writing software that’s runs all of our computers and devices. We now have three companies who have created three different and separate operating systems.

And now we have Google buying Motorola, so that (like Apple) the software and the hardware become as one. Before we know it, if we want an Android we’ll be “encouraged” to purchase a phone or other device manufactured by Google, just like we are now forced to buy iPads and iPhones for Apple software.  How much time until Microsoft admits it can no longer be just a software company and purchases a big PC manufacturer like Dell so that their software can become as one with hardware too?

And then what?  The empire breaks up. The technology world divides itself into three camps. And small business owners, many who do not have the resources to support all these different platforms, will need to make some choices. And live with them. So what will it be: Latin, French or German?

Software vendors will have to develop their products not for just one platform but for three. Most can’t afford to do this. These are not little “apps” for a smartphone. These are business programs which I need to manage my operations. Which means that if I choose, for whatever reason, to standardize my business on Google/Motorola/Android, then I will only be able to choose those applications written for that platform. I would need to replace the software that I already have for software that may be inferior, or lack features that I need to run my company.

And I’ll be limited as to what hardware I can purchase. For now, I can purchase PCs from a variety of different sources because I know they all run Windows and my business applications will be compatible. But in the future will I be forced to only purchase hardware manufactured by Apple because I run Apple applications? And will this hardware have all the features that I need? Will I have a broad choice of local support? Will it be compatible with other devices, like bar-code readers and document scanners that my business may require? Or will I be stuck? Stuck because I was forced to pledge my allegiance to one and only one King.

And what if I want to leave the camp?  The Emperors of Rome didn’t much like those that switched sides. And neither will Apple, Google or Microsoft. Suppose, after a few years, I don’t like the software I’m using to manage my orders process. In today’s world, migration from one software application isn’t easy, but it’s do-able. Most major business software applications are Windows-based and run on similar databases like SQL. So data can be mapped and moved. Will this be the case if I want to move from an Android based order entry system to an Apple or Microsoft based system? Or will, by that time, vendors be so territorial that they will encircle their kingdoms with walls and moats, making data too proprietary to move somewhere else?

And then there’s integration. Because instead of solving the biggest problem that business owners have had since the dawn of technology, the end of Pax Microsoft makes it worse. Even in the world of Windows, most of us have suffered trying to make our accounting systems talk to our service systems and our service and accounting systems talk to our websites. And that’s not to mention our never realized dream of being able to quickly and inexpensively communicate financial information with our customers and vendors too.  Most of us endure with entering the same data two or three times into disparate systems and hoping for the best. But at least these were all Windows-based systems. And as technology matured there was some hope that software developers would create applications that can one day make this integration a reality.

But these same developers are now distracted. They’re writing new apps for the Droid or iPhone. And the dream of having seamlessly integrated systems now seems unlikelier as Apple and Google rise to challenge Microsoft and break up the hardware and software infrastructure into competing camps. Maybe one day my Android-based applications and hardware will all integrate effortlessly. But it feels like we’re starting from scratch.  And even if that does happen, what if I still want to keep that great Windows app for managing salesmen commissions but also want it to share data with my Windows based accounting system?

Some may say that these issues will all be resolved by The Cloud.  But if that’s the case then why does every cloud based provider today have separate applications for mobile devices? Won’t they be forced to ultimately choose sides as well? And what about all those companies who prefer not to have their data delivered through a cloud based application because it doesn’t suit their business model? More choices. More complications.

I’m not saying that life during the Roman Empire was all bliss. And I’m not saying the Microsoft Windows era has been a perfect one for small and medium sized companies. Apple and Google make great products. Did I mention that I love my new D3?  But I know my history. And when the Roman empire became fragmented the world entered a period of chaos and suffering. I’m concerned my company faces the same technology future.


FI Spotlight: Truliant Federal Credit Union

Truliant FCU in North Carolina is giving away iPads to promote the use of their online personal financial management (PFM) tool, FinanceWorks. Truliant members who sign up to use FinanceWorks between July 6 and September 29 are automatically entered to win money and/or iPads. FinanceWorks is free for Truliant members.

Each week, Truliant will award $100 to a member, and each month an iPad2 will be awarded.

A visual of how to sign up for FinanceWorks is below.

What We’re Reading

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.

  • Most Bankers Think They Can’t Beat Cyber Crime, Survey Says

American Banker

Even though banks are being required by new rules to put stronger security in place for online banking, two thirds of bankers think they will never be able to get cyber crime under control, according to a survey. Nearly as many bankers, 65%, say fraud monitoring is their biggest challenge, according to the survey Fundtech Ltd. published Wednesday. It surveyed 100 banking executives from over 50 U.S. financial institutions at a June client conference. Bankers also expressed concern over business accounts, which do not have the same liability protections that consumer accounts do.

Read more

  • Banks Use More Paper Despite E-Statements’ Popularity

Bank Technology News

Banks have struggled for years to get their customers to accept paperless account statements. But even among those who have succeeded in such efforts, paper use has risen. The surge in paper use stems from changes in the regulatory environment and a boost in marketing efforts following years of pull-back that started with the 2008 financial crisis, bankers say.

Read more

  • Mobile Banking Changing Notion of Service, Paper Says

Credit Union Times

A new white paper from The Members Group suggests that mobile banking is enabling credit union members to take over the notion of customer service. “Self Service as Customer Service” argues that credit union members want mobile banking because it allows them to quickly and efficiently do things that they would previously need customer service representatives to do. “Making time for chit-chat is not a priority for Generation Y, nor even Gen X and their parents, the Boomers,” the paper said. “We are a busy, mobile society, and we expect our financial institutions (FIs) to stay in stride. When they can’t, we want access to our information on demand, regardless of our location or the time of day.”

Read more

  • First comes games, then comes payments…Google+ takes another step into FB territory

Javelin Strategy & Research Blog

Facebook is the uncontested King of Social Networks at present, but Google has quickly positioned its Google+ platform as a potential usurper to the Facebook reign, as demonstrated by its recent launch of social network games. The games feature will include high-profile game designers like Zynga and Rovio (the Angry Birds developer), and many others. In case you didn’t catch Javelin’s recent report on virtual currency and social network payments, here’s one of the basic premises: social network games are profitable.

Read more

  • LearnVest: A Money-Management Site for Women

NY Times Blog

Last week, LearnVest raised the curtain on an entirely revamped site, which is cleanly designed and features a new set of robust tools. “We don’t just want to be a pretty site with information,” said the 27-year-old Ms. von Tobel. “We want to change behaviors.” Given all of the various security breaches of late, you may be reluctant to simply hand over the keys to your precious financial data. But LearnVest said it doesn’t store any password or other personal data on its site, with the obvious exception of your financial transactions.

Read more

  • Wells Fargo to Begin Charging Debit Card Fees

Customers in certain states with debit cards from Wells Fargo will soon be facing a fee for every month that purchase transactions are posted. reader Chad Grosklags from Georgia, brought the change to our attention after receiving an unsettling letter in the mail. Grosklags, now an ex-Wells Fargo customer, closed his Wells Fargo checking account last week. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) will impose a $3 fee in every month that customers use their debit cards for purchases starting October 14, according to the notification letter sent to Chad and other customers in the following states: Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Read more

  • Mobile payments gain traction; Your smartphone could replace your wallet

USA Today

Folks rarely leave home without their keys, wallets and cellphones. The thinking behind the next advancement in mobile payments — and it’s likely to take years before this vision goes mainstream — is that all three can be merged into one. Omar Green, Intuit’s director of strategic mobile initiatives, says that during the next 18 months, “There’s going to be a mad rush and a land grab. There’s a lot of potential money on the table.”

Read more


Online and Mobile Solutions – If You Build It, Will They Come?

It’s true that online and mobile solutions are in high demand, but that alone doesn’t guarantee that your customers and members will rush to adopt. If only it were that easy. For many, it’s going to take education on what the service is and why it will be valuable to them. Some “fence-sitters” may simply need convincing that now is the time to change their behavior from the old way of doing things.

Targeted marketing campaigns that address the barriers to adoption have proven to be extremely effective in moving these fence-sitters into active users. Growth and Retention Services campaigns have been so successful because they reach customers and members through email, offline and online channels and communicate the value in using your services to better manage their money and achieve their financial goals.

To weigh in on the biggest adoption challenges you face or share some of your own marketing and adoption best practices, visit In:Volve.

Social Media: Hype or a Financial Services Reality?

By Brad Strothkamp, Vice President, Principal Analyst – Forrester Research

No topic has straddled the chasm of hype versus ROI as social media has done. The last few years have been a never-ending array of social media success stories as well as pundits questing the validity and value of the social area. The financial services industry is increasingly playing a role in the social space, and the last two years have also provided clarity to its value.

Like other industries, the majority of efforts in the financial services social space were initially focused on marketing. But as it has grown more widespread, at least four areas have shown promise for social outside of pure marketing:

  • Product development and innovation. Who better to ask about new product development or product enhancements than existing customers who own and use the product? Firms such as Chase tap social communities to drive product innovation that starts with the customer are using social very effectively.
  • Community support. While financial decisions may be a personal activity, the path to these decisions is often steeped in social with segments like investors or small businesses looking to one another for peer comparisons and best practice sharing. American Express, TradeKing, and most recently E*Trade are using closed communities to drive service utilization and segment engagement by getting customers to interact with each other in the social space.
  • Customer service. The bread and butter of online strategy for financial services firms have traditionally been customer service, and that aspect is seeing an opportunity in the social space. Twitter can be a hotbed of customer concerns and questions, and a litany of financial services companies are listening and proactively helping these clients. Wells Fargo and Citibank have been leaders here in proactive outreach customer service strategies via Twitter.
  • Online sales. Recommendations from family and friends play a key role in how consumers start the process of choosing a new provider. Social has a logical role here as social is about sharing experiences with family, friends and likeminded individuals. This role is being played at a macro level via customer ratings and reviews that are gaining traction in financial services. USAA has been a leader in this space by harnessing the good will that exists among its member to win new ones.

The area of social media will continue to evolve in financial services, and I am thrilled that I’ll be presenting at the Intuit Financial Services Conference this fall on the topic with a focus on USAA’s social story and its tangible results. In order to make my presentation as relevant as possible, I welcome any and all feedback on the types of questions you’d like to see covered. Those questions can cover anything from process to execution including questions around gaining executive support, tying social strategy to the business strategy, and developing effective measurements.

To join the conversation, visit In:Volve.

About Brad Strothkamp:

Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Brad serves eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals. He is a leading expert on eCommerce/eBusiness strategy development within financial services, as well as on best practices of financial firms for selling to and servicing online consumers. He does extensive research on how consumers use the Internet to research and purchase financial products — regardless of the channel — as well as the seamless cross-channel customer experience financial firms need to develop and deliver in order to maximize sales.

In his research, Brad covers such eCommerce and finance-oriented topics as the use of interactive help technologies (including online chat), the use of analytics to drive site development decisions, the ways in which financial services customers make product decisions, the role the Web plays during the product research process, and case studies and industry rankings of leaders in financial services.