What We’re Reading: Banks & Hurricane Irene, Mobile Security and the ‘She-Conomy’
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.
- Amex Expands Digital Payment Product Line
American Express Co., which has been developing prepaid and digital payment options to expand its audience, has added yet another product: an online-only gift card. The non-reloadable eGift Card is intended to be used solely online – the New York company does not offer a plastic card to go with it. Amex launched a more flexible digital payment product in March called Serve, which can be paired with a plastic card for point of sale payments. Serve is meant to attract a broader audience than Amex reaches with its credit cards, which are typically marketed as high-end products. In June, Amex began offering a low-fee prepaid card to further broaden its appeal to the masses.
- U.S. Bank Expands Mobile Alerts to ATMs, Debit Cards
U.S. Bank, which was one of the first banks to offer mobile fraud alerts to credit card customers three years ago, has expanded its alert program to ATM and debit card holders. These alerts are part of a larger effort on the bank’s part to provide customers with near-real-time financial tracking.”This streamlines a number of processes for the consumer,” says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer, U.S. Bank, adding that the service can be useful in cases such as expense management and fraud mitigation.”It’s in a broad context of making the mobile device a place to go to get information about an account,” he says.
- Silicon Valley Bank Debuts Global Payment Hub
Large banks such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo have been working for years to build global payment “hubs”: online banking platforms their corporate customers can use to send and accept payments of different types and in foreign currencies to their customers and partners around the world. It’s an exceedingly difficult task; even offering one online banking interface for the many accounts a corporate customer holds is not simple; having disparate payment pipelines all feed into that online banking interface with the ability to execute transactions is a major IT challenge. Santa Clara-based, $17.5 billion-assets Silicon Valley Bank may be beating such larger competitors to the punch.
- Over Half of Middle Market Companies Are Willing to Refer Their Primary Bank
Referrals are an important way to draw in new customers. In Barlow’s Middle Market Banking study, respondents are asked whether or not they would refer their primary bank to another company with similar needs. A satisfying business banking relationship is essential to a bank’s survival in these economic times and winning a customer’s referral can further cement the loyalty of that customer to the bank. It only takes one dissatisfied customer and business will be taken elsewhere.
- Here Comes the ‘She-Conomy’
Over the next decade, women—particularly those in emerging markets—will become a dominant force worldwide, assuming increased leadership responsibilities across business, government, and education. And due to urban migration, improved access to education, mobile technologies, and the availability of micro credit, nearly one billion women will enter the workforce or start new businesses by 2020.This move to the “she-conomy” is one of 20 trends that will shape the next decade, according to the Intuit 2020 Report, prepared by Emergent Research in partnership with Intuit. In addition, women from generation Y, across race and ethnic lines, will dominate both college graduation rates and professional workplace entry, expanding their role in management and in professions such as law, business, and medicine, according to the report.
- Banking in a Mobile Society – Less Talk, More Action
For credit unions, great member service once depended on the availability of live, empowered and intelligent people who could answer critical questions and nurture personal relationships. But, making time for chit-chat is not a priority for Generation Y, nor even Gen X or the Boomers. Today’s technology-savvy consumers want a little less conversation and a lot more action. For them, speed and self-service through tools like mobile banking are key to achieving satisfaction.
- Acting as a Trusted Partner
Helping out in the face of disaster is a natural. Javelin’s Beth Robertson was glad to hear from one of her banks this week (via e-mail) to see that it was being proactive in reaching out to customers. With all the bad press that banks have had recently, the recent East coast hurricane offered a chance for this bank (and others) to reach out as a partner and friend. The bank in this case was Chase. She uses another bank for online banking and bill pay, but did not hear anything from it.
- Banks give victims of Irene a break ; Some are waiving fees and offering low-cost loans
As Hurricane Irene has left East Coast residents with rushing water, power outages and mounting bills, some banks are offering financial help. Banks and credit unions are temporarily waiving overdraft fees, letting customers skip payments and offering low-cost loans to relieve some of the financial burden on hurricane victims. “When we went through Hurricane Katrina, we learned a lot,” says Ryan McInerney, CEO for JPMorgan Chase’s consumer banking. “What we created was a playbook that we can use in natural disasters like this.”