FI Spotlight: University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union

Banks and credit unions have been creating some interesting campaigns to attract customers leaving large corporate banks. To continue the momentum from Bank Transfer Day, University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union launched the “lipstick on a bank” campaign to educate consumers and increase members.

In order to build credibility and raise awareness of the benefits offered by credit unions, University of Kentucky FCU launched the campaign andmicrosite at the beginning of 2012 to demonstrate that, “You can  put lipstick on a bank, but it’s still a bank.” The campaign and microsite focused on three main benefits to consumers when they join a credit union like University of Kentucky FCU: membership, checking and loans, particularly emphasizing lower fees and better rates.

Megin Morgan, member development specialist at University of Kentucky FCU says of the campaign, “Our goal was to keep it simple and straightforward and to demonstrate why going with a credit union was beneficial.” The credit union has already seen a large increase in new accounts from the campaign which ran during the months of January and February 2012. With 706 new accounts in 2012 reported in early March, and 18 percent increase from 2011, Morgan notes, “We saw this as a successful credit union awareness campaign that seemed to get people’s attention. We could possibly re-run it again in the near future to keep the credit union movement momentum going.”

You can read more about University of Kentucky FCU’s campaign from Credit Unions Online here.

 

How are you bringing new customers and members to your financial institution? Tweet at @Bankingdotcom or let us know in the comments below.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Send information to info@banking2020.com.

 

Behavioral Change: Is There An App for That?

To some of us, it might seem that people who don’t know about mobile banking must be living in a cave somewhere. But here’s the reality: Only 10 percent of mobile banking users were prompted to use their bank’s mobile channel by their actual bank.

This is not some revelation from years ago, when mobile features and capabilities were still mostly a novelty, and understandably accompanied by some trepidation. It’s actually a key finding from a survey of 1,527 mobile banking users, encompassing more than 240 banks and credit unions. It was commissioned by ath Power Consulting, a provider of customer experience solutions for the financial services industry.

That’s not the only bad news in the report. It turns out that only one in five users were offered any option to customize their user interface, and fully 40 percent failed to find links for technical support.

It’s relatively easy for those of us essentially embedded in these disciplines and practices to look down on these findings—after all, companies have spent millions developing these technologies, and millions more promoting them. Besides, many of those consumers are surely using their mobile devices for many other functions that would have seemed futuristic just a couple of years ago. So what’s the problem?

Just this past week, acerbic comedian Bill Maher got big laughs on his HBO show by expressing bewilderment at the construction of new retail banks. He noted that he hasn’t walked into a bank for many years, since there’s so much available at the click of a button.

But we should get real too. When it comes to banking, just saying “There’s an app for that” isn’t enough.

It’s impossible to bottle the science behind behavioral change. If we could, everybody would launch something like Facebook out of a dorm room, or create viral videos on a regular basis. What we do know is that some behavioral shifts (such as social networking) occur at an incredible pace, while others (such as specific aspects of e-commerce) are adopted in fits and starts. For the most part, we don’t know why, except that the availability of a new technological capability alone doesn’t guarantee a change in habit.

Money complicates the issue even more. The relationship we have with our banks is fundamentally different than with our favorite retailer or clothing brand; it requires a level of trust, comfort and familiarity that extends far beyond other B2C interactions. It takes a leap of faith to go from using the cell phone to Tweet something personal (which we know others can see) to conducting a sensitive financial transaction.

For the record, the ath Power study does show some promise. While security will always be a prime concern, the mobile channel can play a major role in fraud prevention as mobile adoption improves and consumers become more familiar with alerts. On another front, mobile customers are more loyal: about one in eight say they’ll change banks within two years, compared with one in five in the general customer base. Finally, despite the relative lack of awareness of this category, the quality of a mobile offering is a major factor in choice of bank among the mass affluent and small business owner segments.

That’s all for the good, but this is a behavioral change that needs broader consumer adoption. And for that to happen, maybe the word needs to get out a lot more than it has so far.

What We’re Reading: Big Data, Tablet Banking and the Mobile Pay Market

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.

  • Student Lending Market ‘Too Big to Fail’: CFPB Official

American Banker

Total outstanding student loans in the U.S. have grown to the point of having potential far-reaching effects on the financial system, an official from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told bankers this past week. Following his announcement that student-loan debt has topped $1 trillion, Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman, said the market was now larger than previous estimates. Chopra said the increasing debt, mostly from federal student loans, could hamper the housing market recovery in the near term, and have long-lasting effects on other bank products. (The bureau’s estimates of total student loan debt came from a joint study with the Department of Education.)

Read more

  • With Eye on U.S. Mobile Pay Market, Monitise to Merge with Clairmail

American Banker

Seeing a major opportunity in the U.S. market, Monitise and Clairmail this morning announced a merger deal in which they will cross-polinate and cross-sell each other’s technology in their respective markets. Assuming the deal goes through, the two companies will have 33% of the top 50 U.S. banks as customers and a total of 300 bank customers. The two companies would have pro-forma combined revenues of $56 million at the end of 2011.Both companies’ executives stressed their philosophy of keeping banks at the heart of mobile payment and mobile commerce transactions.

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  • Big Data or Big Hassle? New SAS Tool Offers Simplicity

American Banker

Banks have long struggled to make sense of the oceans of data they produce. They can buy tools to help mine, analyze and structure really big amounts of data, but until now, these products have not been very user-friendly, limiting their appeal. One of the latest data discovery products, announced Thursday by SAS Institute, promises to let non-IT folks in banks do complex big data modeling from their own computers. Data discovery products typically rely on an in-memory middleware layer that can pull and temporarily store massive amounts of data quickly. With its SAS Visual Analytics product, “we can have the modelers [at banks] who used to build one model a day, because it took so long, build a model every 15 minutes,” says James Goodnight, the Cary, N.C., company’s chief executive.

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  • Tablets Hold Game-Changing Implications for Banks

Bank Systems & Technology

It’s fitting that Bank Systems & Technology closed the April 2012 digital issue covering the evolution of mobile technology in the banking industry the same week that Apple introduced the “new iPad.” The updated version of the tablet (which is not being called the iPad 3 even though it is the third edition of the device) includes an improved screen and enhanced cellular networking capabilities, as well as a faster processor. Perhaps more noteworthy than these upgrades, though, was CEO Tim Cook’s announcement that Apple sold 15.5 million iPads in the past year — more than the number of PCs sold by any of Apple’s competitors. BS&T’s April digital issue breaks down what it takes to create a superior tablet banking experience and highlights some of the industry’s top iPad apps.

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  • Mobile Remote Deposit Capture: Putting a Price on Convenience

Bank Systems & Technology

Banking customers increasingly see value in mobile remote deposit capture (RDC). In fact, in many cases, they would even change banks to get the service, according to the Mobile Financial Services Tracking Survey, a semiannual survey conducted by Boston-based consulting firm AlixPartners. At the end of 2011, 65 percent of the survey participants who indicated that they were “at least somewhat likely” to switch banks for mobile services said that the ability to deposit a check with their mobile devices would be the main reason for the switch — a 50 percent increase over the second-quarter 2011 survey results. Banks are scrambling to meet this rapidly growing customer demand for mobile RDC.

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  • Mobile Bill Pay Gaining Global Traction

Bank Systems & Technology

A recent report from British research company Juniper Research has found that mobile bill payment is quickly gaining global acceptance and will continue to see significant growth. The report, titled “Mobile Banking for Developed and Developing Markets”, predicts that by 2016, more than 80 percent of mobile banking customers will pay their bills with their mobile device. It also says that users of transactional mobile banking services will grow to more than 550 million in 2016 from 185 million in 2011. The report indicates that mobile bill pay adoption rates are highest in customers who have access to “triple play” mobile banking solutions that include an SMS or text option, a mobile web browser and a downloadable application. In addition, it says that transaction frequency is highest in developing regions where users don’t have many other options for bill pay beyond using a mobile device.

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  • Using PFM To Be PFI

Credit Union Journal

Texas-Big banks are playing the PFM game to steal business from CUs.The game goes something like this: the bank offers personal financial management (PFM) software to the customer, the customer tracks external accounts in the software, including CU accounts. Then, the bank peeks into the external account data in order to identify products and rates to beat.”Bank of America is sending your members referrals that say they can give a loan at a lesser rate,” suggested Kevin Scott, COO at $97-million Texoma CU here. “Your member is being actively marketed by other financial institutions from PFM info.”

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  • Fraud Ring Busted in Washington State Using Tech Tools

Credit Union Times

Portland, Ore.-based online fraud detection company iovation helped police in Kirkland, Wash., bust up a fraud ring that involved thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit card charges, the company announced. Police used ReputationManager 360, iovation’s online fraud prevention solution, to identify and track the fraudulent charges that targeted at least 15 people, the company said. ReputationManager 360 tracks electronic devices including computers, tablets and cell phones and identifies fraudulent online activities by making associations between devices and individuals. “This is a unique case because it wasn’t exclusively an online or offline crime,” said Kirkland police Detective Adam Haas.

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  • Digital Wallets – It could be an all or nothing argument for adoption

Core Banking Blog

On March 6, 2012 Apple was granted a new patent for a technology they are calling iWallet. Looking at the proposed functionality Apple has once again done what they do best; enter the market after the innovators (think GoogleWallet) with, in his opinion, a substantially better offering. Better in that it goes beyond simple payments to allow you to take control of your payment cards directly on your iPhone. Meaning you will be able to get statements, balances other information and transactions beyond simple point of sale transactions.

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National Day of Unplugging

Tonight marks the start of a day called the National Day of Unplugging. This movement encourages people to disconnect from technology and connect with the offline world. For many tech savvy users the ideas of shutting off for 24 hours seems like eternity. No phone, Twitter, Facebook or apps.

To showcase how difficult it will be for Americans to turn off, we’ve included an infographic called Instant America which has statistics that showcase how quickly Americans expect to receive information in this digital era. After reading these stats, it’s no wonder that movements such as the National Day of Unplugging are taking place.

The infographic below highlights that, “Google found that slowing search results by just 4/10ths of a second would reduce the number of searches by 8,000,000 a day.”

Instant America
Created by: OnlineGraduatePrograms.com

After taking time to digest these stats, are you going to unplug tonight?

Mobile Maturity

Here’s a conundrum: Is the rising concern over security as it relates mobile banking a sign that mobile banking is gaining legitimacy?

Sadly, yes.

There’s been a lot of talk here and in plenty of other places how mobile banking is being adopted more broadly by providers and consumers alike. With a little push on the innovation front, it’s likely to gain even more traction as the social media generation comes of age. Walking into financial institutions, or even sitting down in front of the PC, is too much work; let your phone or tablet do the banking. We’re surely about to see a plethora of mobile apps that enable us to deal with our finances in ways we never have before. As with every other shift in technology, this is turn will affect our behavior—perhaps even our attitude toward our personal finances.

The flip side to all this, of course, is the downside— a new breed of criminal that poaches on looser protection standards. The goal: to secure access to insecure data.

But again, as with the emergence of every new platform, form factor or application, security takes on a new urgency. The very point of mobile adoption is convenience—everything absolutely must get easier. Now, if something is easier, does that mean it’s automatically less secure?

Let’s hope not, but there’s more work involved to make that happen. Every financial institution is currently rushing products to market, knowing that there’s a huge potential audience for something customizable, unique and useful (so much easier said than done). But given the need for speed, is security getting the attention it should?

In an interview with BankInfoSecurity, Joe Rogalski, information security officer at New York-based First Niagara Bank, warns of the perils of this trade-off. He stresses that every product offering related to mobile banking—be it remote check deposit or just bill pay—needs to be evaluated from a fraud perspective before it goes to market.

But we all know that in the real world, getting there first can be more important than being the best. Is the threat of a serious data breach somewhere down the road worth losing critical market share now?

Just to be clear, even the PCI Security Standards Council is continually playing catch-up with regards to protocols and best practices—the whole field is still too new, and in perpetual motion, to set comprehensive standards. For their part, the bad guys have no trouble finding weaknesses and loopholes. For example, we’re only just starting to learn about a new breed of attack that fools consumers out of their SIM cards. (This mode should concern telecoms as much as FIs.) This is particularly troubling because SIM cards are the favored tool for securing mobile payments at many mobile payment schemes around the world, ironically because it gives the telecom provider more control.

The problem is that too much of this discussion remains in the theoretical realm, and belongs in the real world. So let’s take it as an article of faith that consumer adoption will continue to grow, that FIs will continue to push products out to market that makes diverse banking processes easier, and that criminal elements will use any tactic they can to steal access, steal data and steal money. Because they will.

Moving forward, we need ironclad guidelines, rock-solid processes and innovative technologies to (try and) stay one step ahead of the downside. Mobile banking is natural, beneficial and inevitable. It’s up to us to minimize the threats that emanate from it.

What We’re Reading: Social Media, Mobile Banking Stats and the Federal Reserve

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.

  • SIM Card Tricksters Target Mobile Payments

American Banker

The criminal activity that targets mobile banking has not yet reached the levels of web banking, mostly because the volume of mobile banking to this point hasn’t made it as attractive a target. But as mobile banking grows, that’s starting to change — particularly since mobile banking is vulnerable to a wide variety of criminal threats. A new strain of crime that tricks users out of their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards has quickly emerged to threaten banks and other enablers of mobile payments such as telecoms.”This special attack involves stealing information to generate new SIM cards,” says Orem Kedem, a director at the security firm Trusteer, who described the threat in a recent interview.

Read more

  • Coming Soon: iPads ‘R’ Us

American Banker

Rapid change is the new normal when it comes to technology — and banking. Clunky old computers, even previously “sleek” laptops, are anachronisms now, as computer tablets soar in popularity. In fact, the next generation of consumers may forgo outdated tools like a computer mouse altogether — a move that could have critical implications for bankers, Brett King, the founder of the yet-to-be-launched mobile bank Movenbank Corp. Ltd., said this week. He gave a keynote address at the Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium sponsored by American Banker and its publisher, SourceMedia Inc. To illustrate, King showed a YouTube clip of a baby playing: first with an iPad, then with a magazine.

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  • The Secrets to Chase’s Mobile Success: Exclusive Q&A With SVP Ravi Acharya

BankTech.com

Ravi Acharya, ChaseMobile banking has exploded since it was first introduced. In less than 10 years, the channel has evolved from offering basic SMS alerts to providing the rich, fully functional banking experience available on tablets today (and back to text alerts again). JPMorgan Chase ($2.3 trillion in assets) has been at the front of the mobile space from the beginning. Bank Systems Technology associate editor Bryan Yurcan recently spoke with Ravi Acharya, SVP and head of product management for online, mobile and social at Chase, the New York-based company’s retail banking arm, about the evolution of the bank’s mobile offerings, lessons learned and what the future holds for the channel.

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  • Bank for less

Boston Globe

There may be more fees on the way, but you don’t have to pay the price. People say they’re furious at behemoth banks, for myriad reasons: lending practices that helped sink the economy, government bailouts, foreclosures, huge bonuses for chief executives, and now higher fees and tougher account requirements.Here’s what industry analysts and Consumer Reports’ own recent review suggest you’ll find now and in the coming months: Fee increases and tougher account requirements will probably continue, especially while the economy remains weak. Customers with a lot of accounts at one bank might avoid some fees, but they’re not immune.

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  • Study Offers Tips On Effective Social Media

Credit Union Journal

Regular online surveys to keep abreast of member sentiment should be a key part of a credit union’s social media programs, a new study by the Filene Research Institute suggests. The study’s authors recommend conducting periodic member surveys among other strategies included in the new study, “Measuring Social Media Success In Credit Unions.” “There continues to be a correlation between success and credit unions that conduct member surveys two to four times per year and have otherwise active marketing programs,” the authors state. Several key success drivers emerged and solidified during the yearlong study.

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  • Confusion on Hot Topics Mobile, P2P and Social Pay

Credit Union Times

The research by Boston-based AlixPartners exploded on the screen at BAI Payments Connect 2012. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the availability of good mobile services has emerged as a top factor in why consumers choose to change financial institutions, reported Teresa Epperson, AlixPartners managing director.A stunned disbelief settled over the room. Few of the banking and credit union executives present had seen this coming. But, according to Epperson, the facts are the facts.

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  • Fed: One-fifth of U.S. subscribers access mobile banking services

Fierce Mobile Content

The Federal Reserve Board is banking on mobile services to transform the American financial landscape. A new Fed survey issued Wednesday reports that one out of five U.S. subscribers used their mobile phone to access their bank account, credit card or other financial account in the 12-month period ending in January 2012, and an additional one out of five respondents said they would likely leverage mobile banking services at some point in the future. Even more impressive, the Fed speculates usage could increase to one out of three mobile phone owners by 2013. The survey reports consumers between 18 and 29 make up roughly 44 percent of mobile banking users, relative to 22 percent of all mobile phone users; at the other end of the spectrum, subscribers 60 and older–who represent 24 percent of the total U.S. mobile population–account for just 6 percent of all mobile banking users.

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  • Future belongs to mobile banking: Federal Reserve

Banking Business Review

The US Federal Reserve in its Board Survey has found that one out of five US consumers used their mobile phone to access their bank account, credit card, or other financial account in the 12 months ending in January 2012, highlighting the future of mobile banking. In its study, the central banking system said that an additional one out of five indicated they would likely to use mobile banking at some point in the future. The study also highlights that mobile banking usage is expected to increase in the forthcoming years, as it said that one out of three mobile phone users will use mobile banking by 2013.

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With Mobile Banking, the Future Gets Closer

It’s always good to see a comprehensive study, especially one based on a survey, that offers more than just a snapshot in time. “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services,” the brand new report from no less an authority than the Federal Reserve Board, is perfect in that regard. It comes with a mountain of data on where we are in this perfect triangulation of money, technology and human behavior.

For the record, there’s clearly considerable movement in this market—consumers are using mobile devices to carry out personal banking functions more than ever before, and every specific function is clearly trending upward. However, there are also signs that adoption is not as fast, nor as widespread, as other mobile-enabled capabilities.

First, the good news, and there’s plenty of it. Fully 87% of the U.S. population now has a mobile phone, and nearly half of those qualify as ‘smartphones’—that is, offering Internet access. In turn, nearly a quarter of those consumers, or 21%, engaged in mobile banking activities during the past 12 months, and another 11% say it’s likely they’ll do the same during the next 12.

Drilling down one level deeper, the most frequent use of mobile banking capabilities is to check account balances or recent transactions—that’s the word from 90% of mobile banking users. The second most common activity is transferring money between accounts, attributed to 42%.

However, the numbers fall precipitously when it comes to more complex activities: 21% of mobile payment users use the ability to transfer money directly to another person’s bank, credit card or PayPal account, and only 12% made a mobile payment in the past year.

Security is clearly a major concern: 48% cite this as the primary obstacle to mobile banking, and 42% say it’s why they don’t make mobile payments. However, what the report also seems to indicate is that rather than using mobile devices and capabilities for a new kind of banking, they’re all basically doing the same thing.

In fact, more than a third of mobile phone users who don’t use mobile payments either don’t see any benefit to be derived from using mobile payments, or actually find it easier to pay with another method. Fully 58% specifically note that they haven’t yet adopted mobile banking because their needs are being met without it. That can’t be good news for the software developers working to create innovative applications for their banks’ customers.

Age is clearly a factor. Consumers between 18 and 29 account for only 22% of mobile phone users but exactly double that for mobile banking users. By contrast, only 6% of those 60 and over practice mobile banking (while they’re 24% of the mobile phone universe. In other words, there’s clearly an upward trend here. But is that enough?

The report has been hailed as a clear sign that mobile banking has a great future, and it clearly does. But it’s also possible to have a slightly contrarian view.

The practice of e-commerce surged only after consumer behavior changed with regard to shopping. Overcoming the same security concerns they have now (if anything, the fears were greater then, given that it was still a novelty), shoppers bought more, and bought differently, than they did otherwise. Mobile banking needs to make a similar leap.

The reality is that consumers have an ambivalent relationship with money; they don’t look at the bank the way they do the grocery store. The general availability of more applications and online services is vital, but it may not be enough. As professionals, we have some work to do in persuading our customers that mobile banking is not just safe, but that it also enables them to do many things they can’t do otherwise. Only then will the future get here faster.

How To Profitably Serve Small Business Customers

Small businesses, especially micro businesses, are an underserved customer within financial institutions.  The small business market will grow from approximately 27 million to 33 million in the next 10 years, with many of these being micro businesses. Many organizations outside of financial services are targeting these very segments.

In this video CeCe Morken, president and general manager of Intuit Financial Services, sat down with Greg Wright, to discuss how Intuit can help you better and more profitably serve small business customers.

Community Service

It’s rightly said that the SMB market, which employs a majority of the American workforce, is often overlooked in the national business discourse. Similarly, community banks and credit unions are too often neglected in the mainstream dialog over the financial services industry. This is a glaring oversight: these sectors not only play a critical role in the daily lives of many Americans, but also offer a fresh and distinct picture of the economy at large. Some recent stories, still more the exception than the rule, prove the point.

First, SNL Financial is out with its annual list of the nation’s best-performing community banks, and true to form, there are some very interesting angles. For example, Atlanta-based State Bank Financial Corp. (the holding company behind State Bank & Trust) ranks No. 1 among banks on the larger end of the spectrum, between $500 million and $5 billion in assets for 2011. This would seem to be an unlikely location for a success story of this caliber—Georgia has suffered through nearly 80 bank failures since the market tanked in 2008. However, SBFC has since acquired a dozen of those fallen competitors and assiduously built up a strong, and now market-leading, portfolio.

Coming in second is American First National Holdings of Houston, which has a very different story to tell. Founded by six entrepreneurs barely 15 years ago, it is focused on the Asian American market. And then there’s Citizens National Bank of Bossier City, La., launched in 1985 by a small group of local businesspeople who saw the need for a locally owned and managed bank that could provide modern banking services “without the cold and impersonal delivery. . .so prevalent in today’s financial institutions.”

The entire list exhibits this kind of national diversity. Texas has the highest number of ranked banks, with 12 entries in the top 100. California comes in second with nine, followed by Virginia and Pennsylvania with eight each.

SNL casts a separate look at banks with assets of less than $500 million, and here too there are pleasant surprises. Topping the list of community banks in this category is Amerasia Bank,located in Flushing, N.Y. That’s literally a stone’s throw away from Wall Street and its conglomerates. Launched less than 25 years ago, the bank has earned recognition from financial rating companies.

Meanwhile, The Street offers a different perspective on this very issue by pointing out that long-term growth investors would do well to “look beyond the largest bank holding companies and consider profitable, growing community banks.” The simple, underlying reason: While the multinationals get all the attention, it’s their smaller counterparts, working at the community level, that have more room to grow.

For the record, most of the largest banks are healthier now than they were even a few years ago: All but four of 19 major institutions got a boost last week after the Federal Reserve, reporting on rigorous stress tests conducted over the past few months, determined them strong enough to survive another harsh downturn. J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, among others, got the thumbs-up; Citicorp did not, and the market seems to reacting accordingly.

The reality is that community banks play a critical role important in the daily economy, just like their much larger counterparts. However they get much less attention in the process, unless there’s a scandal, or something of political significance, such as last year’s much-heralded Bank Transfer Day.

But for the most part, community banks do what they do quietly—serve with dedication and innovation, effectively using the technologies and tools most needed to survive and thrive. For that, they deserve far greater recognition than they typically get.

What We’re Reading: Payday Loans, the Mobile Wallet and Online Banking

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.

  • Take Two on BB&T Deal for BankAtlantic

American Banker

BB&T Corp. has answered the question whether it still has a stomach for a deal with BankAtlantic Bancorp. Affirmative. BB&T on Tuesday said it will assume BankAtlantic’s obligations to holders of about $285 million of trust preferred securities. A judge had blocked the original deal on the grounds that it was unfair to those bond holders of BankAtlantic, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. BB&T also would receive a 95% preferred interest in a newly established entity that will hold a $423 million pool of loans and $17 million of other assets. The pool of loans, which has an unpaid principal balance of approximately $500 million, represents a portion of the loans that BankAtlantic would have retained under the original agreement, BB&T says.

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  • Strands Seeks to Stand Out in Crowded Financial Management Space

American Banker

To stay relevant in the hypercompetitive personal financial management space, tech companies like Strands Inc. are trying to distance themselves from the PFM standard of a one-size-fits-all approach to online budgeting. PFM tools, which allow users to track their cash flow visually through charts and calendars rather than just a plain ledger, were developed as a way to improve the appeal of account aggregation, which simply gathered transactions from multiple accounts on one screen. In recent years the PFM space has gotten very crowded, leading some players to hunt for underserved audiences. In the case of Strands, a PFM provider that counts Bank of Montreal, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. and ING Group NV among clients, “we find that some users have a gap between retail banking and online banking; and what they have in investments,” says Edward Chang, CEO of Strands, who discussed the company’s future plans in an interview with Bank Technology News.

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  • Inside the mobile wallet: How does it work?

ABA Banking Journal

The number of people using mobile payments is on the rise, and this number will only grow over time as new technologies and advancements are introduced. Today’s consumers increasingly expect a shopping experience that seamlessly crosses online and offline channels. They use multiple channels and information sources to make buying decisions and expect an integrated experience that’s timely and consistent wherever they are and at any time—a concept First Data calls Universal Commerce. In addition to providing consumers with a new way to make payments, mobile devices represent a new channel for financial institutions to communicate with their customers.

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  • The Free And Easy Way To Reward Debit + Online Banking Users

Financial Brand

How can financial institutions reward debit card users who use online channels — i.e., the best customers? Cardlytics has a solution which costs banks and credit unions absolutely nothing. Sound too good to be true? Here’s how it works. A typical consumer — we’ll call her Karen — stops into a home improvement store to pick up some items for her kitchen remodel job.

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  • Amazon Apple Facebook Google-Which is Most Innovative?

Javelin Strategy & Research Blog

Apple is ranked the most innovative company, placing it ahead of Google, Facebook and Amazon, and many other brands in Javelin’s latest survey of over 5800 consumers. As laid out in our new report The Gang of Four (and Possibly Five) Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon – and PayPal: Positioning for Payments in the New Mobile-Social Technology Era, Apple iOS is engaged a fierce battle for dominance in the smartphone market with Google Android – as platforms which gain the greatest numbers of consumers tend to be the big winners in each new tech cycle. Ground-breaking products are one of the ways that Apple determines its edge, and the release of the new iPad tablet continues in that tradition.  Tim Cook laid out Apple’s Post-PC numbers: the firm sold 172 million iPod, iPhone and iPad devices last year.

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  • Cashing in on payday loans

Los Angeles Times

Payday loans, for years a fixture in poor, working-class neighborhoods, are increasingly being offered by local banks and employee credit unions — triggering concerns by consumer groups that more Americans will be trapped in high-interest loans that could take years to pay off. More than two dozen regional and community banks now offer versions of these loans, most starting their programs since 2007. The biggest increase, however, has come at credit unions. Nearly 400 of them now are in the market, attracted by a 2010 change in regulations that boosted the maximum interest rate on payday loans to 28% from 18%. But many people can’t repay the loans when they come due.

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  • Many consumers not ready to adopt mobile banking, says survey

Mobile Payments Today

Growth in mobile banking and payments is being driven by younger consumers, but most adults are more reluctant to adopt mobile banking, said a survey cited at cuna.org.In an online survey of 504 U.S. debit cardholders conducted in January, Auriemma Consulting found that younger consumers are more likely to download a mobile-banking app — 43 percent of respondents under 45 had downloaded a mobile app from their financial institution within the previous year, while only about 22 percent of those over 45 had done so.Of 40 percent of respondents with mobile-banking capabilities, about 75 percent used their smartphone to check their account balance, 36 percent paid a bill, 32 percent received a bank notification, 31 percent paid by phone and also made a deposit, and 3 percent transferred funds. Some 17 percent of respondents said they made no mobile payments.

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  • How mobile payments might drive health behavior change

Mobile Health News

So long, wallet? That’s right, this summer may be remembered as the beginning of the era of mobile payments, services that let consumers pay for things in-person through their smartphone rather than with cash or a credit card. Isis, a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA, is the mobile operators’ answer to Google Wallet, a similar service launched by Google last year. Google Wallet currently counts more than 25 big brand chains as partners: Gap, Macy’s, Toys R Us, Office Max, RadioShack, Sports Authority, Foot Locker, among them. More relevant for this publication’s readers, however, are the restaurants, coffeeshops, and convenience stores that have signed up. Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Jamba Juice, Jack In the Box, Einstein Bros.

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  • Trusteer: SIM Card Fraud Schemes Target Online Banking

PC Mag

Many banks use OTP (one-time password) systems to validate online transactions. After a user logs in with a standard password, the site texts a one-time password to the phone that’s registered for the account. The user can’t complete the transaction without entering the OTP. This two-factor authentication, more secure than simple password protection, may be required for larger transfers. That makes it a target for fraudsters, and they keep finding new ways to subvert the system.

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