What We’re Reading: Starbucks Loan Fund, Tablet Banking and Bank Overdraft Fees

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.

  • Starbucks Says 3-Month Old Loan Fund Is Already Creating Jobs

American Banker

Starbucks Coffee Co. has raised more than $2 million in small-dollar donations from its customers since Nov. 1 in support of its effort to stimulate job growth in low- and moderate-income communities. The retail giant created a loan fund in partnership with community development financial institutions to make loans to small businesses. Starbucks seeded the fund with $5 million from its foundation and has been urging customers to add to the fund with donations of as little as $5 at checkout or online. Including Starbucks’ contribution, the Create Jobs for USA fund had raised more than $7 million as of Dec. 31 and had made 278 loans in 31 states, Starbucks’ Chief Executive Howard Schultz said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Thursday.

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  • Citi and Mint Target Financial Advice Sites at Women

American Banker

A new partnership between DailyWorth, a women’s financial information site, and Intuit’s personal financial management [PFM] site Mint.com reveals the potential of PFM to be sharpened by combining it with editorial content for specific user groups. “The PFM tools out there are being used by pretty much anyone and are meant for the masses, but there are different things going on that affect people’s financial planning needs,” says Jacob Jegher, a senior analyst at Celent. Mint.com‘s tools will be made available to users of DailyWorth, a resource designed to help women build net worth through a variety of educational materials, articles, blogs and other interactive media.

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  • PayPal Partnering with Banks to Attract New Customers

American Banker

PayPal Inc., with 106.3 million active users, clearly has no trouble signing up consumer accounts. But it is now partnering with banks to sign up even more. Users who sign up for PayPal accounts can fund them from any bank account they choose — or they can ignore their bank and use a store-bought MoneyPak from Green Dot Corp. PayPal’s new partnerships allow banks to avoid disintermediation by ensuring their own accounts are funding customers’ PayPal purchases. PayPal’s first partnership is with la Caixa, which allows its users to enroll for PayPal accounts on the bank website, PayPal said in a blog post last week. The process ensures that the Spanish bank’s credit and debit cards are linked to each freshly created PayPal account.

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  • In Tablet Banking, Fun Matters

BankInnovation.net

Tablet banking customers just wanna have fun? Intuit Financial Services thinks so. That’s why the fintech vendor designed an iPad banking app that aims to liven up the user experience. “People buy iPads because they are fun,” Deepti Sahi, senior product management at Intuit, tells Bank Innovation. “We wanted to make the app fun.” Making tablet apps “more fun”  is easier to do than when designing smartphone apps for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that there’s more real estate to work with and animation possibilities are more robust on a tablet.

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  • Banks and Credit Unions Focusing on Onboarding to Build Revenues

Bank Marketing Strategy Blog

There has never been so much pressure on financial institutions to maximize the revenue and relationship potential of each customer. With government regulations reducing fee income, historically narrow interest rate spreads, and consumer satisfaction with many financial institutions wavering, there’s a need to ensure that once a customer opens a new account, every effort is made to help the customer understand and use their account, expand their relationship, and increase loyalty to your organization. While time and resources have been dedicated to new customer acquisition processes in the past, a majority of financial institutions are now working to implement or improve the communication process right after account opening and for several months into the relationship.

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  • Let’s Make 2012 the Year of Internal Collaboration

Gonzo Banker

Gonzobankers, unless we all really learn to play together, the toys in our banker’s toy box can get broken, or never get used to their fullest potential. Blogger Ted Thames is talking collaboration here, collaboration within the bank that lets us make the best use of opportunities and technology. He understands how initiatives designed to make strategic improvements in customer service or operating processes can get off track.

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  • Consumer Inquiry Focuses On Bank Overdraft Fee

New York Times

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is beginning an inquiry into how banks levy overdraft fees they charge customers who bounce checks or withdraw more than they have in their accounts using debit cards or automated teller machines, the head of the agency said Tuesday. Richard Cordray, the director of the bureau, said the inquiry would focus on whether some banks misled consumers in 2010 when they put in place new Federal Reserve regulations for overdraft protection. The agency will try to determine whether banks routinely reorder customer transactions to maximize potential overdrafts, and will seek data on the effect of overdraft fees on young and low-income bank customers.

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