Finding Social Media ROI is like Hunting a Unicorn (Part IV)

Post four wraps up this wild ride with some advice on how to put your social media efforts into proper perspective. This is the final blog post on why social media ROI is as challenging as corralling a mythical unicorn. Read Part I, Part II, & Part III here.

In Conclusion: Building, implementing, maintaining a social media strategy is a time-intensive endeavor, especially when the payoff isn’t there yet for most every Financial Institution. The first two blog posts I shared have this correct.  I know of a handful of banks with consistently worthy social media efforts. They are the true unicorns…and they are rare.

Not everyone can or should lead social media ventures…as indicated by the third item.  Technical proficiency in generating a page and “likes” isn’t what you or your institution should be shooting for.

Finally, our industry has gone so far past ROI when it comes to social media that we’ve forgotten about the limited resources we have to generate revenue for our institutions!  I rarely hear people talk about time management.  Perhaps this is because our industry has downsized so much that most people are so busy chasing unicorns that it seems as if everyone is working hard!  Have we become afraid to say, “that’s not the best use of our time” for fear of being viewed as incapable of working as hard as Sue or Bob down the hall?  Saying no to non-revenue generating activities is a valued skill.

It’s refreshing to see articles that question the validity of Social Media as a revenue generating strategy.  And, it was enough to shake me out of my non-blogging ways to reengage my four readers!

Feel free to comment. I’m sure some will say that Social Media isn’t meant to generate revenue but to generate engagement. Well, what is the true, main job of a great marketer? To generate results that impact the bottom line? Or to generate minimal engagement amongst a limited segment of your customer base? To generate “likes”?  And, what if you only have time for one of these? Which do you think would save your job if it were ever on the chopping block?

 

Footnote 1: OK, so maybe I’ve used my own social media endeavors to uncover a unicorn or two…I have booked some speaking gigs because of what someone saw on my LinkedIn profile or because of a recommendation.  More likely, these weren’t unicorns but like a Guide Horse (aka. Miniature Helper Pony for the Blind). My social media strategies center on looking for a way to increase my visibility but in ways that wouldn’t require more resources than I had to devote…or more succinctly put, strategies that I could ignore when higher ROI activities presented themselves. This blog is great, but can be abandoned for 160+ days when sales become so busy that you can’t devote resources to maintain regular posts. Banks and CUs don’t have the luxury of abandoning their social media efforts for months at a time.

 

Footnote 2: I’ve been trying to figure out a way to toss this social media story into the “Internets” since I heard it in the fall of 2011 at a banking conference.  I didn’t figure out a seamless way to work it into the above post so here it is on its own in the footnotes area.

I saw a panel of bank social media experts talk about their experience with social media.  At the end of the panel discussion, an attendee asked the panel, “How do you address the question of ROI?”

The first participant to speak said, “How do you measure the ROI of a hug? Because that’s what we’re doing out there on twitter.”

Holy crap? Really? Banking may need a softer image but it’s not going to be about hugs and unicorns.

About Mark Zmarzly: Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at www.ihelpbanks.com and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly

Video: Tomorrow’s Small Business Customer: Helping You Crack a Tough Nut

CeCe Morken, president and general manager of Intuit Financial Services, sat down with Greg Wright, small business solutions leader for Intuit Financial Services, to discuss specifically what Intuit is doing to help financial institutions engage small businesses.

Finding Social Media ROI is like Hunting a Unicorn (Part III)

Part three of four on why social media ROI is as challenging as corralling a mythical unicorn. Read Part I and Part II here.

Item 3: Sorry that you can’t see the board post on this third citation. Perhaps you’re on the board and have seen it. If not, my summary is that one person asked for “ideas to help drive people to our Facebook page.” Many people replied with ideas that worked for them to get to 1,000 likes in X number of days. The conversation on the board reminded me of this great email exchange I had with an industry contact of mine in regard to his questions about Facebook strategies and my follow up questions about what his goals are. He said:

“I’m going to have to get my Senior Management Team to agree on the ‘Goal’.  I find that a lot of my friends up this way have jumped into the Social Media craze, but when I ask them what their goal is, they have no idea.  My management team has a history of introducing new products and services, and when I ask them what the goal is, they look at me like I have ten heads.  I always ask them, ‘how will you determine if this is a success or not?’ and I just get stares.”

Unfortunately, the focus of the board post became getting “likes,” which we will assume has become the unofficial currency of most bank Social Media efforts.  I did like one poster’s closing comment to “Have fun and look for a ROI!”  Unfortunately, liking unicorns and finding unicorns are not the same thing.

ROSMI Summary: CMO, “I like unicorns.”  Another CMO, “Me, too.  Hey, look, a Leprechaun! Sorry, I’m easily distracted.  Hey, look, a shiny object.”

Item 4: If you’re not reading Dave Martin on American Banker or through his www.ncbs.com site, then you’re missing out! (Subscribe to “Dave’s Instore Newsletter” on the right side of the page…even if your financial institution doesn’t have any “in-store” branches.) I’ve never met Dave but have been reading his newsletter for years now and he’s a great blend of sales and marketing…something all marketers should strive for.

You must click and read this article…come on, you’ve come this far.  Here it is again: Dave Martin on American Banker’s Bank Think titled “Your Staff’s Time is as Valuable as the Customer’s

Here is the most important statement in that article in case you missed it or didn’t click the link despite my pleadings:

“When managers express concern about employees feeling micro-managed about their time, I smile and say, “Well, that’s easy. Don’t micro-manage.” I simply suggest that we stress to folks that their talents and desire to succeed may be unlimited. But their time is not.

Employees don’t need (and, in fact, resent) being told what to do with each minute of their day. But regularly reminding them, in word and action, that their time is a valuable asset improves the chances that they (and you) will get the most out of it.”

I was speaking to a group of college English majors last week – Yes, I’m a former English major who ended up with a decent career story so I get invited back to speak occasionally – and one of the questions was whether hard work or talent was more important to get ahead.  While I could have taken that question in any manner of different directions – creativity is king, saying no to idiots is kind of valuable, brownnosing will save us all – I answered it in the most honest fashion by stating that both are important. But, that talent and hard work must meet at a supply and demand intersection of sorts.  “Hard work” as defined by looking busy all the time and answering emails at night is no substitution for leveraging your talents to achieve high level results.  Your talents should be abundant to you but also limited to the company – if there is only one of your talents, that’s not just job security but job creation!  Then the ultimate goal is to apply your talent with focus so you’re not defined as a hard worker but as a producer of results.

Simply stated:

[Your ability to utilize your limited amount of time] X [the high-payoff talents you possess] = How you will be judged by your organization

Just because you have “social media technical skills” doesn’t mean they are high-payoff activities for your organization.  And, the ability to utilize your limited amount of time means you need to have awareness of how to create results that matter…to your employer!  Where does generating “likes” fall into this equation?  It doesn’t.

ROSMI Summary: Hunting mythical unicorns isn’t something most people are well suited for and most likely won’t become a career defining endeavor.  It’s best left to the Care Bears…or whoever hunts them…(I’m not a big Sci Fi fan so may have that one wrong).

Post four of this series wraps up this wild ride with some advice on how to put your social media efforts into proper perspective.

About Mark Zmarzly: Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at www.ihelpbanks.com and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.

 

 

 

Finding Social Media ROI is like Hunting a Unicorn (Part II)

Part two of four on why social media ROI is as challenging as corralling a mythical unicorn. Read Part one here.

What is ROSMI?  Better put: Who is ROSMI?

Pronunciation: “Rose-Me”

Definition: a mostly mythical and poorly drawn unicorn

Pictorial Definition:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drew this picture a few months back after my 4-year-old daughter said, “please draw a unicorn.” Me to her, “does it look like a unicorn?” Her, “not very much.” It’s amazing to think that my drawing skills peaked at age 5.

O.K., so now that you know my history with social media and the definition of Rose-Me, let’s get back to the intersection of the four items I discussed up at the top.

Item 1: Hopefully you actually clicked on the link to the great read at TheFinancialBrand.com.  If you did not, allow me to recap:

A 25-year-old bank marketer named Dave – who looks quite scary in the shadowy pictorial representation – said that social media has become an irrational quest by banks.  He said that ROI needs to be the focus of all marketing decisions instead of taking off on a wild quest for a mythical purple Unicorn.

ROSMI Summary: Every bank marketer in America, “Where is that damn mythical purple Unicorn, Rose-Me?”  Dave, “She doesn’t exist. Neither does Santa or the Easter Bunny.”

Item 2:Hopefully the four of you who are reading this also subscribe to Ron Shevlin’s excellent blog www.snarketing2dot0.com. I know at least 25% of you do as Ron is one of the four subscribers. If you are in the other 75% – i.e. you aren’t Ron Shevlin – do yourself a favor and subscribe to his blog.

On his site you can read interesting posts like this recent one that is summarized with the following:

  • Credit Union members don’t engage with their CUs…nor will they do so with large banks.
  • One-half of one percent of all Twitter users follow a bank.
  • Twitter’s usefulness is questionable when you look at the desirable outcomes of any potential marketing banks or CUs can do.
    • Ultimately, Ron sums up the post with this line: “Bank and credit union CEOs need to start asking their CMOs: Is Twitter really the best use of your department’s time and resources?”

ROSMI Summary: Bank CEO to CMO, “If you insist on taking your staff off on a trek to find this mythical unicorn, you’d better bring it back stuffed and mounted so I can show my friends.”

Stay tuned for post three, which deals with where we went wrong and the unspoken fact that people in the Social Media realm seen to want to avoid: you only have a limited amount of time to produce revenue!

About Mark Zmarzly: Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at www.ihelpbanks.com and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.

Small Business, Big Lending

After such a prolonged period of doom and gloom in the global economy, any uptick in lending from financial organizations is cause for celebration. Now maybe, just maybe, we’re headed that way.

First, the good news: Flush with deposits, banks around the world have money in their coffers. Next, the better news: They’re more inclined to make loans in 2012 than they have been for a while (as in, the recession). Finally, the best news: Small businesses, often seen as the true engine of growth, are likely to benefit the most.

That’s the word in a new report from Omega Performance Corp., based on a survey of 409 respondents around the world, and it offers an interesting snapshot of how bankers see the near future. And by all accounts, what they see is good. In fact, 69 percent of global bankers reported a positive outlook for the global economy over the course of the year. For the record, no one’s looking through rose-colored glasses just yet: Only 12 percent predict “drastic” improvement on a global scale, while 57.2 percent see it improving “slowly.”

It’s in the area of lending practices that we see the greatest changes. Well over half the banks surveyed forecast greater lending on the consumer front, and the numbers are even higher for EMEA. It’s an even better story on the commercial side, but this time, the outlook is rosier in the North America, particularly the U.S., with a whopping 72.5 percent.

Going one level deeper, there’s an even brighter spot. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said that their financial institutions will increase small business lending. Of those, 61.1 percent will do it slowly, while 12.7 percent see a drastic jump. The corresponding numbers for the U.S. are even higher, collectively clocking in at 77 percent. In fact, this sector dominates the target markets for banks—76 percent globally, and 78 percent in the U.S. On a related note, more than two-thirds of respondents in the U.S. plan to actively pursue leading to mid-sized and larger business as well.

It’s not all good news: For example, construction and multi-family homes (considered bellwethers of the industry) still rate below credit cards and auto loans around the globe. As for individual housing, the number for Canada is significantly higher than the U.S.: 57.8 percent over 42 percent.

Again, like all surveys, this is just a snapshot in time. But considering the cascade of gloomy reports and dire forecasts that we’ve almost become accustomed to, any positive signs are welcome. Here’s hoping there are many more, and soon.

Finding Social Media ROI is like Hunting a Unicorn (Part I)

This is the first of a four part series written by Mark Zmarzly (see below for his full bio). Stay tuned for the remainder of the series.

I’ve been intentionally not posting on my blog for a good reason – O.K., that’s not entirely true but I’ll talk more about that at the end of this post – but the intersection of four interesting items all surrounding social media have caused me to violate my posting moratorium.

Here is a list of the four items in the order I encountered them:

  1. Post on The Financial Brand titled “Confessions of a Social Media Skeptic
  2. Post on Snarketing 2.0 about how “Banks and Credit Unions Can Forget Twitter for Marketing
  3. A question on a bank marketing board asking other participants for “ideas to help drive people to our Facebook page.”  URL intentionally not shared to protect the innocent and not so innocent discussion participants.
  4. An article by Dave Martin on American Banker’s Bank Think titled “Your Staff’s Time is as Valuable as the Customer’s

I’ll give you a quick bit of background on my own foray into social media and then quickly move on to some comments about these four interesting items and my thoughts on how they are all related.

First, my background on using social media within the banking industry:

  1. It all started when a man by the name of Al Gore and I invented the Internet
  2. Most of my involvement in using social media within the financial services industry would be traced back to my use of LinkedIn in 2008.  An innocent invite from a friend in the technology field introduced me to this professional networking site.  Since that time I’ve grown very fond of LinkedIn; have used it to advertise industry webinars, publications, speaking gigs, etc; and have found it to be a very valuable source of industry credibility.
  3. In May of 2009, I started the Twitter handle @BankMarketing.  This project started from a small observation: that I read a sh*t ton of articles about banking and bank marketing, which many others in our industry don’t see.  I started the account the first night I was at the ABA School of Bank Marketing & Management after mentioning Kasasa  and nobody had heard of it yet.  (Confession: a Google alert on a competitor was how I knew about this product before they had done a large formal launch).  My tweets mainly consist of broadcasting what I’m reading within the industry.  The byproduct is that I’ve connected with a ton of people in the financial industry, increased by industry reach and credibility, and been exposed to a lot of writings that I might have missed.
  4. In late December of 2010 I started the now rarely maintained blog/website www.ihelpbanks.com.  My intentions for this site were to have a presence on the web outside of my employer – both at the time and the new one I was about to join – and to start advertising my speaking services within the industry.  The blogging portion of my site is underutilized because of the main point of this entire post: ROI (Return on Investment).  More correctly, I’d say ROSMI (Return on Social Media Investment).

About Mark Zmarzly: Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at www.ihelpbanks.com and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly

What We’re Reading: Mobile Security, Bank Fees and Mobile Shopping

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.

  • BBVA Compass First to Allow Account Opening Directly from an iPhone

American Banker

One issue banks have struggled with as they develop mobile banking apps is: how to get new customers on board? Account opening is a traditionally cumbersome process best done in person, where you can see and be quite sure the customer is who he says he is. Banks generally require customers to open accounts either in a branch or on the bank’s website. The version 2.0 iPhone app BBVA Compass is launching today is the first to let customers enroll in mobile banking directly from their phone, even if they don’t have an online banking account.

Read more

  • Defending Your Apps

Bank Technology News

As banks battle financial malware, they strive against human nature. “The biggest threat, no matter what the device, is people themselves, who can be fooled by rogue applications or rogue messages,” says Chip Tsantes, principal, Ernst & Young. “That’s true in the online world and it’s becoming true on the mobile platform.” The Anti-Phishing Working Group estimates that 39% of all computers are infected with financial malware (malicious software designed to steal account information).

Read more

  • Fiserv Combines Popmoney and ZashPay to Make One Large P2P Payments Network

BankTech.com

Financial services technology provider Fiserv has announced that it will merge two of its existing solutions for person-to-person (P2P) payments to create a P2P network that includes 1,400 financial institutions and 35 million consumers. The company will combine ZashPay, the P2P payment product it launched in 2009, with Popmoney, a P2P product it gained with its acquisition of payments and aggregation company CashEdge last September. The combined service will be called Popmoney, and will feature easier navigation and advanced functionality, such as the ability to request money from individuals or groups, import contacts to a payee list and send e-greetings along with electronic transfers. All existing ZashPay and Popmoney customers will be upgraded to the newly combined and enhanced platform by the middle of 2012, according to Fiserv.

Read more

 

  • Wal-Mart, Retailers Line Up Vs. Banks On Mobile Pay

Investor’s Business Daily

Just as Bank of America (BAC) and other financial giants strive to come up with new ways to boost their income, Wal-Mart (WMT) and a group of retailers are looking to bypass the banks and tap the potentially lucrative mobile payment market.The retail leader, Target (TGT) and other chains are working on a system for using mobile phones to pay for things, the Wall Street Journal reported. They would compete against similar ventures from banks, wireless carriers and payment processors like Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA). The effort also comes amid Wal-Mart’s effort to offer more banking services like check cashing, money transfers, bill payment and prepaid debit cards.

Read more

  • Banks’ fees pay off for credit unions

Los Angeles Times

Consumers fed up with the rising tide of bank fees helped the nation’s credit unions more than double their number of new customers last year, new figures show. More than 1.3 million Americans opened new credit union accounts last year, up from less than 600,000 in 2010, the National Credit Union Administration reported. That brings the number of credit union members to a record 91.8 million. Activists say those numbers might swell even further if major banks try to squeeze more fees out of their customers

Read more

  • With Mobile Internet, Money Is Up for Grabs

Technology Review

Ben Milne, a 29-year-old college dropout with a furry goatee and no background in finance, is on his second and third meetings with some of the world’s biggest banks. He thinks he has convinced them he’s “not full of it.” This is no small thing. The startup company he founded, Dwolla, has introduced an Internet-based payment system that aims to bypass credit card companies. Not only that, but to work properly, it will require rewiring a crucial hub of the U.S. financial system known as the Automated Clearing House, a network banks use to transfer payments electronically, although usually with a delay of several days.

Read more

  • Bad guys aim apps at mobile gear; Text scams, viruses threaten security of cellphone users

USA Today

Nearly one in five mobile phone users have experienced some type of security threat with their device. That’s the finding of a Cloudmark survey of 1,000 cellphone users, scheduled to be released Tuesday. Poison text messages, nearly non-existent in the U.S. a few years ago, grew 300% in 2010 and 400% in 2011, accounting for about 1% of all text messages. “We’ve gone from totally clean to a trickle,” says Rachel Kinoshito, head of Cloudmark’s security operations. “Most people are seeing about one a month.”

Read more

  • Big Bank Weighs Fee Revamp

Wall Street Journal

Bank of America Corp. is working on sweeping changes that would require many users of basic checking accounts to pay a monthly fee unless they agree to bank online, buy more products or maintain certain balances. The plan by the nation’s second-largest bank by assets is the latest sign of stresses in the banking industry at a time of low interest rates, slow economic growth and new rules limiting many types of service charges. The search for new sources of income is especially pressing at Bank of America, where 2011 revenue dropped by $26.2 billion, or 22%, from its 2009 level. Bank of America pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts now are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for an “Essentials” account.

Read more

  • We Don’t Have a Mobile Payment Problem; We Have a Mobile Shopping Problem

Wired.com

Mobile payment systems feel like magic. Wave a smartphone in the air with a wandlike flourish, or tap two of them together like Captain Marvel’s bracelets, and invisible currency changes invisible hands. Contact-free and tap-and-go payments powered by NFC (near-field communication) give great demo. They’re all the rage at this year’s Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, where Spanish bank La Caixa just rolled out an ambitious citywide payment system. But even at a Google Wallet-friendly Starbucks, waiting in a 10-minute line only to pull a phone out of our pocket and fumble with it rather than a credit card barely feels like the future.

Read more

The Social (Payments) Network

While Google’s privacy policy and user-tracking have been under the microscope recently, Facebook has been quietly acquiring money transmitter licenses from state agencies around the U.S.

Is Facebook gearing up to battle PayPal and the ever-growing list of companies in the payments space? Are they just preparing for the increased scrutiny that going public will bring? Or, perhaps they plan to revolutionize the financial service industry with their more than 845 million users worldwide?

The point is no one really knows.

A recent article in American Banker shined a light on the social network’s recent activity with state regulators, confirming at least 15 states have granted money transmitter licenses to Facebook. Facebook already maintains a digital currency, Facebook Credits, for use with Zynga’s Farmville and some of its other online games. Point being: Facebook is well positioned to provide person-to-person (P-to-P) money transfers with real-world currency.

What would a Facebook-based financial institution look like?

Well a lot like PayPal actually, but with more traffic – people updating their status, posting pictures, checking up on friends, etc. P-to-P transfers seem a natural fit. Banks have begun to offer P-to-P and need to take Facebook seriously as a competitor. Bank transfers can be as easy and convenient as simply entering the recipient’s email address and the amount to be transferred. If you are already logged in to Facebook, it could only take several clicks, eliminating the need to switch to a bank’s site or PayPal.

Currently, advertising space is the only product sold by Facebook. It stands to reason Mr. Zuckerberg and company would jump at the chance to squeeze more revenue from his website’s users. Taking a small percentage of the P-to-P transfers would generate additional revenue.

Facebook collects information about users, their preferences and activities on their site, giving them a huge advantage over other FIs. Only Google comes as close to compiling as much user information.

The popularity of the payment space continues to surge with a seemingly never-ending line of companies ready to compete for a piece of the market. Case in point: Retailers Walmart and Target recently announced that they, too, will soon launch a mobile payment system. Starbucks and Subway launched mobile payment solutions last year.

Retailers like to provide payment solutions because it enables them to offer special deals to customers, avoid paying costly transaction fees to FIs, and provide greater security than a multiple vendor system. Perhaps most important is the additional information about each consumer, which can be culled and analyzed in order to maximize sales from each individual and thus increasing the retailer’s revenue.

Questions remain about if and how Facebook would handle basic banking functions like deposits, interest, and fees, but FIs would be wise to prepare for competition from yet another company.

What We’re Reading: P2P Payments, Personal Finance Apps and the Underbanked

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.

  • Banks at Risk as CFPB Probes Overdraft Practices

American Banker

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement Wednesday that it was targeting overdraft protection practices was a stark reminder for bankers that even if they have already made significant changes, it is likely not enough. While the agency had been expected to delve into the area, observers said the industry remains vulnerable despite legal settlements and new regulations. “The message to the industry is to understand that just because something is a common practice that is not barred by a specific regulation does not mean it’s safe,” said Jo Ann Barefoot, a co-chairman at Treliant Risk Advisors.

Read more

 

  • P2P Payments Come To The UK

Celent Banking Blog

There were two interesting announcements this week heralding the dawn of the bank account-based P2P payment era in the UK. The first announcement came from Barclays about the launch of a Pingit service, which allows consumers to send and receive money using mobile phone numbers. Five days later, the UK Payments Council announced that it has commissioned VocaLink to build a central database that will allow bank customers to link their mobile phone number to their account for person-to-person mobile payments. Until now, if you wanted to make a payment to another person in the UK, you typically would have to give them cash, write a cheque or make a bank transfer using their bank account details.

Read more

 

  • Banking on the Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0

Finextra

The growing adoption of iPads by financial services companies has unnerved RIM, the makers of Blackberry smartphones and traditionally the sector’s choice for mobile communications devices. For RIM to dominate the tablets market much the same way it has the smartphone space, and after a disappointing 2011 launch of the first Blackberry Playbook, the next operating system for the tablet needed to be good. Following the release of the Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0 today, credit must go to RIM, as this new offering is more than good and a worthy contender to the iPad within financial institutions. RIM’s model for mobile application development is by far the most understated. Supporting a wide array of languages and run-times, coupled with exceptional developer support, makes the Playbook the smart choice for developing internal banking software.

Read more

  • How to Get More Women Hired for Technical Roles

FINS

Women are just as likely as men to get a high-tech job if they are in the pool of candidates being considered, the report finds. The report recommends that companies include at least one viable female candidate for every position it tries to fill. It’s a similar approach to the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which mandates that every team looking to fill a head coaching position consider at least one candidate from a racial minority before filling the spot, the report notes. The report, “Solutions to Recruit Technical Women,” draws on academic research and internal data from technology companies including International Business Machines, Intel and Cisco.

Read more

 

  • Can Scott Cook Revive Corporate America?

Forbes.com

You may not have heard of Scott Cook, but you probably know TurboTax and Quicken. Cook is the founder and executive chairman of Intuit (INTU), whose mission is to change peoples’ financial lives so profoundly that they can’t imagine going back to the old way. In a February 25th telephone interview, Cook, who joined Bain & Co. after earning his Harvard MBA, described his passion for assuring that Intuit is capable of both strengthening its core business and creating innovative new ones. His key finding is that big companies must create a culture of frugal experimentation. This is a problem that Cook has been studying for at least four years.

Read more

  • Best Personal Finance Mobile Apps

PC Mag

Carry a personal finance advisor with you at all times with one of these free smartphone apps. As any financial advisor will tell you, the first step to growing your money is knowing how much you have to begin with. The best personal finance apps for your iPhone or Android phone can tell you that, anytime and anywhere you’re holding your smartphone. Personal finance apps extract real-time data from all your financial service providers, including banks, investment houses, PayPal, lenders, and loyalty rewards programs, to paint the most accurate portrait of your finances on the fly. This is a far cry from the pre-PC days when tracking your expenses involved saving receipts, writing down transactions, opening paper bills, and going to the bank every now and then.

Read more

 

  • Be savvy about mobile banking safety

MarketWatch

As consumers become more comfortable with mobile payment technology, they also need to become more concerned about the security of their transactions. “Security of your transactions is one of the biggest issues, especially with mobile payments,” said Jerry O’Flanagan, chief credit officer for First National Bank of Omaha. In part, that’s because consumer protections on many smartphone transactions are different than those that apply to traditional credit-card usage or online banking. Consumers should know whether their mobile transactions use their debit or credit cards: Credit card fraud carries a limit of $50 in liability for the card holder, while liability for fraudulent transactions on a debit card are limited to $50 if reported within 48 hours, and up to $500 if reported after 48 hours and before two months.

Read more

  • America’s ‘Unbanked’ Masses

Wall Street Journal

Fewer Americans have access to traditional banking services such as checking accounts, consumer loans and credit cards than they did five years ago. Part of this has to do with the housing bust severely damaging the finances of U.S. households. But millions more have lost access to credit or essential banking services due to regulatory reforms imposed over the past four years. Excluding millions of Americans from traditional banking services is not an efficient means of commerce and will result in long-term negative consequences for our economy.

Read more

  • Bank tellers moving beyond processing transactions

Washington Post

Customers at Burke & Herbert Bank can transfer funds and pay bills online, but a number prefer the greeting of a friendly teller over a log-in prompt. “I see about 75 customers a day, mainly for deposits and mortgage payments,” said Ronaldo Guerrara, a 23-year-old teller at the bank’s branch in Old Town Alexandria. “There are still some things people don’t feel comfortable doing online or through an ATM.” “There continues to be demand for in-person and automated banking,” said Terry Cole, director of products, marketing and sales at Burke & Herbert.

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